The All Powerful Hashtag

October 1, 2023
November 9, 2023
Marketing Operations Optimization
"Hashtags can be confusing. Why do we need them? How do we use them?"

How to create a meaningful hashtag strategy

Why are we #so #obsessed #with #hashtagging #everything? Do I need to use #hashtags when I talk??? Do I even need a hashtag strategy?

All joking aside, hashtags are used to track trends and engage with the community around you on social media. It is important to include hashtags with each post and use customized hashtags to reach more followers. Other important aspects of hashtags include the ability to monitor trends that are happening, connect with people during live events, as well as enable you to leverage social media algorithms that are in place to deliver social content to a broader community of prospects.

Before you start throwing hashtags onto every word in your social media posts, you need to develop a purposeful hashtag strategy that will guide your digital interactions. 

What is a hashtag?

Essentially, a hashtag is a classification system for social posts. They make certain terms and phrases searchable on social media platforms, but it doesn’t stop there. 

When determining which hashtags you should be using for your social media, you should also consider the keywords that you are using to expand your web presence. WHAT? You haven't taken the time to research your keywords? That’s ok, you can start now! 

What are keywords? And how do they apply to hashtags?

The same principle applies to hashtags as to keywords. You want to search for words or short phrases that fit your brand, that you believe those, searching the internet, are using when looking for your brand or finding you indirectly through keywords they are searching. Your best friends in finding the best keywords are search trends, Google Analytics, Google Search Console and other keyword research tools. 

When doing your research you should be considering the following:

  • How are your customers finding you? 
  • What are potential prospects searching for?
  • How are prospects finding your competitors?
  • How many people are searching for certain terms?
  • In what format do they want that information?

What you want to rank for on search and what the audience is searching for, are often two different things. The importance of keyword research is to uncover what your audience is searching for and then optimize the content and website to ensure they are finding you. But that’s a whole other blog article!

How to choose your #hashtags

When developing your hashtag strategy, I like to simplify the approach into four main areas:

BrandedCommunityIndustryCampaign or Product SpecificSpecifically created for a brand, and are used to increase brand awareness.Connect like-minded users around a topic.Used within an industry about topics, events, and ideas related to that group.Short-term hashtags to promote a particular campaign or product.4 categories of hashtags to build your strategy around

If I were to apply these categories to this article, for The Yellow House, it would look like this:

Branded: #TheYellowHouse
Community: #MarketingInVancouver
Industry: #SocialMediaTips
Campaign: #hashtagstrategy

With these categories in mind it is important to highlight the priority that should be followed when using these hashtags on posts. Branded hashtags are considered your foundation with Industry and Community hashtags building upon that foundation. Product and Campaign specific hashtags are not considered your foundation as they will change based on seasonality, events, milestones, etc. 

There are several schools of thought and researched articles about the number of hashtags you should use. On average, I recommend you use 6-8 standard hashtags that are used on all of your posts, reviewed on a regular basis for performance. Then you have room to add on product or campaign specific hashtags to each post that vary, taking you up to around 10-12 per post. Connect with me to discuss your specific brand use case, as this does vary by client.

So how can my brand rank in the first position on search? 

When it comes to keywords and hashtag, there is no silver bullet that will drive your ranking straight to number one. A thorough strategy, followed by testing and consistency in your approach is going to be needed. This is where hashtags and keywords work together. If you are going to optimize your website for “selling lemonade”, your social media strategy should complement that. You are going to want to use the same keywords on your website as hashtags in your social media presence. 

It would be great if hashtags and keywords were the silver bullets needed but they are each important components which can, when used together, have the same effect as silver bullets on werewolves.

To learn more about social media and other ingredients of a successful marketing strategy, I invite you to read my blog post on Digital Marketing Lemonade here. 

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