Hashtags play a crucial role in social media marketing. Using the right hashtags will help you cut through the noise and get your content seen.
By engaging with the key hashtags in your industry, you will be able to discover new accounts to follow and engage with. Consequently, you can reach a wider audience and influencers.
Hashtags evolve and change all the time. Some hashtags get oversaturated,some are not used much any more. So it's a good practise to check them from time to time.
But how do you find the best hashtags?
There are a couple of tools.
1. Ritetag: This is a tool that I mostly use for Twitter but it also analyses hashtags for Instagram.
It has browser extensions so you can quickly look up hashtags and analyse them. It suggests hashtags to get seen and lets you know about the ones you should not use.
I searched #smallbusiness, and as you can see from the below photo, it also suggests me other popular hashtags that are related to it. Not every one of these may be related to my business, but it's good to have alternative hashtags to maximise the reach.
2. Makelight Hashtag Tool is the one that I use regularly for Instagram. It indexes hashtags and you can see how many photos each hashtag contain. Hundreds and thousands of photos are being published every second so some hashtags are very large.
If you only use the most popular hashtags, your content might not get the best exposure. Therefore it is better to use some popular hashtags and some not so popular ones to cut through the noise.
When you search a hashtag in Makelight, it tells you how many photos are indexed under that particular hashtag, how many times it is posted (every few minutes, every hour etc.. It also gives you related hashtags.
3. Display Purposes for Instagram. This tool gives you a number of hashtags around the keyword you enter, however it doesn't let me know how big or small that hashtag is so I don't tend to use it. Although if you want to, you can go to Instagram and find out how many times each hashtag is used.
4.Hashtagify.me is another tool that tracks hashtags both for Instagram and Twitter. It has some beta features which are still being developed. It gives you some statistics around popularity and suggests other hashtags that are popular.
I personally like Ritetag for Twitter and Makelight for Instagram. There are a couple of other tools but these are the free ones. It is worth trying out which one you like to use most as they have different user interfaces.
Instagram sometimes bans a hashtag if they find inappropriate content or something that violates their community guidelines. At the time of writing (2nd February) #ValentinesDay is banned.
This is what I see when I search for it.
I see that there are 10.648.881 posts under #ValentinesDay and it shows me the top photos.
However it is a different story if I scroll down.
As you can see below, there is a note from Instagram saying recent posts have been hidden because they have been reported.
If I had a gift shop, I would probably be promoting some items at this time of the year using this hashtag and if they weren't getting much exposure I would wonder why. I have been keeping an eye on this particular hashtag for almost a week now, and it has remained hidden.
This is why we should not rely on using the same hashtags day in, day out. We really need to be careful about them.
I would love to hear from you if you use these hashtag tools. If there are others that you like, please share in the comments.
As always, if you have any questions or need help with social media marketing, please get in touch.
If you have never used Twitter before, it can feel a bit daunting. How can you possibly tell something in just 140 characters? Do you need to read every tweet? How do you use those hashtags? Should you follow everyone who follows you?
Twitter is one of my favourite social media platforms. Unlike some other social media platforms, there is no barrier between you and your followers and this is fantastic! But how can you make the most of this fabulous tool to grow your community?
1. First things first: Optimise your profile. Your Twitter bio should clearly indicate what you do in your business with a link to your landing page. No one wants to follow an egg, so don't forget to change your profile photo either with a professional head shot or your logo.
2. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter. It simply is not possible to to read every tweet from everyone you follow. The best thing you can do is to segment the people you want to follow into groups.
I created different lists for various topics such as Education, Foodies etc. I add people to these lists and when I check out my Twitter account it makes my life much easier because I can see all the tweets from my favourite people in one place. You don't have to follow someone to be able to add to a Twitter list.
You can add anyone by clicking on the gear icon on their profile and then click on to add/remove from lists. You can set your lists as public or private. If you add someone to a public list they receive a notification of this. However they don't if it's a private account.
3.Now that you have Twitter lists, have set times throughout the day-maybe once in the morning,once around lunch time and once in the evening depending on your schedule. Spend 10-15 minutes engaging with the people in your lists. Reply their questions, share their content, retweet their tweets. Be helpful and be kind. This is how you connect with people and build relationships with people on Twitter.
4.Use images to stand out from the crowd. Twitter is like a traffic lane with hundreds and thousands of tweets at a minute. To get the attention you need to stand out with your visuals: branded images, gifs and so on. If you need some help with this, here are my favourite tools to create social media images that convert.
5. Be consistent. Use a scheduler to share curated and created content that will add value to your followers. It's okay to tweet the same content a couple of times through out the day. This will let you catch different audiences at different times. As long as you share great content, people don't complain!
6. People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search. For example if you search #smtips you can find lots of social media tips. I can simply search this hashtag on Twitter and if I think something worth sharing, I can retweet them to my followers. Spend some time to research your industry specific hashtags and make a note of them so you can use them later.
Don't use too many hashtags! One to two hashtags are enough and research shows that these tweets get more reach than those with more hashtags. You also want to leave some space for people to retweet your tweet so it's good to be careful about this.
You can also come up with your own hashtags. For example if you're running a campaign you can come up with a catchy hashtag like #ThisGirlCan. You can also use a branded hashtag to create brand awareness. For instance, I could use #SocialThyme to create brand awareness. However no one is likely to search this hashtag on Twitter, I would only use it for brand awareness. The second hashtag would be to use an industry specific one, for example #socialmediamarketing which is what people would be searching on Twitter.
7.Use Twitter Chats to increase your reach and grow your following. There are many industry or location specific tweet chats happening every day. These are set hours that are held once a week. They are usually hosted by one twitter account, and the host will encourage networking and interaction between the people who participate in the chat. Here is a list of Twitter Hours happening in the UK. The list is not very up to date so do check if it's still happening before you start posting.
8. Use a @ before their name to mention someone. They'll get a notification of the post. It’s common when people tweet a link to a blog post from your site or if customers are commenting about your company. Once you send a Tweet mentioning another account, they’re likely going to reply and @mention you. Getting an @mention in Tweets makes your account more visible as your tweet is now going to be seen by their followers and this in turn can help you earn new followers. Engaging with industry influencers in this way helps you grow your account.
9. Finally, if you are only pushing out automated content, you are just broadcasting which puts people off. Think of Twitter as an online party. You wouldn't go to a party and start selling your products, would you? Share great content, engage with people, build relationships and sales will follow.
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments. If you feel you don't have the time/don't feel inclined about using Twitter yourself and would rather someone else manages it for your business, please get in touch.