You’ve just created a piece of social content. Amazing work!
But now you want to know the types of hashtags you should use in order to give your post the best chance of finding the right audience.
In this guide, I’ll highlight the ways you can choose the right hashtag types for your content so you can give it that extra boost.
I’ve also written a helpful guide all about hashtags and other social media buzzwords that I’m sure you’ll find really helpful, so be sure to check it out!
HOW HASHTAGS WORK
Think of hashtags as descriptive, clickable words that quickly tell the reader the who, what and where.
When a user clicks on one, they are transported to that hashtag’s very own page, which is filled with like-minded content from other creators or those within your sector.
For this reason, it’s really important to consider your hashtag’s relevance. The goal should not solely be increasing the visibility of your post. It should be to get your posts in front of more people who care about your content. The more interested and engaged your audience, the better your targeting.
As hashtags are such a common part of digital communication nowadays, often users can tell the context and relevance of a post to them just by looking at the hashtags.
THE PYRAMID OF POPULARITY
A great way to map your hashtag selection is to use the Pyramid of Popularity.
The pyramid demonstrates the scale of an audience depending on the breadth of the hashtag type and message.
In general, there will always be content and hashtags that appeal to the majority of people. #Sport would be a great one - it’s extremely broad, which means pretty much anyone in the world who likes any type of sport would find it interesting. But the broader you go, the less targeted you become.
The Pyramid of Popularity indicates the more specific (and therefore less popular) your hashtags are, the better your chances of creating content that directly talks to your target market.
This is why viral content on social media isn’t always effective in terms of generating business, as popularity doesn’t directly equate to target market awareness.
Something I’d actively encourage is using a combination of hashtags on your posts. As a rule of thumb, you should use between 3-9 hashtags per post on LinkedIn, 5-11 on Instagram, and 1-2 on Twitter.
Having a mixture of broader and more niche hashtags will increase your post’s reach and impressions, as well as enhance your personal brand.
Creating your own hashtag/s that are unique to you and your business ensures that when users click on them, they are taken to a portal all about you! Having your own hashtag/s is a great way to build trust and authority in your sector.
We use #FinallyEngineRoom on LinkedIn as our space for marketing education - anyone who follows the hashtag will only see helpful posts from us.
Associating your personal or smaller hashtags with more widely-used hashtags also helps to bridge the gap between your specific brand and services, and the wider social community. We often pair #FinallyEngineRoom with #DigitalMarketing for this exact reason.
ASK FOR FOLLOWERS
Well if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I recommend once you have created your personal hashtag/s, promote them on your platforms. Show people the value in following your hashtag - the benefits they will get, what they will learn, what you can offer.
Use different content types to showcase what followers will get from your hashtag, and give them clear instructions for how to follow. We do this regularly for #FinallyEngineRoom. In fact, whilst you’re here, why not give it a follow today? All you have to do is click the hashtag, and then click the large ‘Follow’ button at the top of the page!
Growing a community based around your hashtag means you’re growing one based around your messaging, principles and teaching, too. That’s really powerful.
USE HASHTAG TOOLS
There are some great hashtag research tools online which are often free to use.
Researching hashtags for your sector is a brilliant way to find out what is worthwhile for your audience, and what is perhaps too oversaturated.
You can punch in a hashtag or keyword, and you’ll gain information and data about it - showing you relevant hashtags and search terms, frequency of use, popularity, and much more.
It’s really important to do your research early on so your messaging is aligned with the types of people you want your business to be associated with.
Two of the best free tools are:
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
For this section, I’m going to break hashtags down into core types - this way it will help you understand the specific types you should use depending on your business and preferences.
The core hashtag types are as follows:
IDENTIFY THE TOPIC
Determine the main subject(s) of your social media post. Use the subject as your hashtag to tell readers WHAT your content is about.
Think of a hashtag as a subject, theme, or keyword. It essentially identifies the content’s genre for the reader.
People tend to search by topic. Therefore, using topics as hashtags increases the chances of more people seeing your post.
DESCRIBE THE AUDIENCE
While topic hashtags rule the roost, audience hashtags help identify WHO the post is for.
The more targeted you can be with your audience, the better. If your business largely trades with builders, then you want to be researching hashtags that best suit that audience type.
Broader hashtags for this trade would be:
More niche hashtags would be:
SELECT THE LOCATION
Use a location hashtag to identify WHERE you do business. A hashtag based on location isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a local business, adding your geographic location is a smart strategy.
When people search for local businesses or attractions, they often add a location to their search. So, if you’re a local business, you call attention to your brand using a location hashtag.
Here are a few examples of businesses that may benefit from calling out their geographical location:
- Driving Instructors
- Tourist Attractions
RIDE THE TREND
There are popular hashtags that are related to trending topics, days of the week, holidays, events, culture, news, and more. You can take advantage of a trending hashtag to get more eyes on your social media posts.
Some of these trends happen every week, others just once a year. Planning is key so that your post’s timing makes sense. You can find many social calendars online which outline the themed dates and holidays that are commonly ‘celebrated’ on social media.
Some examples would be:
A word of caution, though; ensure your posts align to these hashtags before using them. This will help protect your brand and keep your posting shipshape.
EMPHASISE THE BRAND
This last one comes back to what I was saying earlier about personal branding. It’s really important to have a hashtag that’s unique to your business - regardless of its size and scale.
Hashtags focussed on your brand name, message, products, promotions, and events will ensure that opportunities for visibility are there, as well as increasing your authority.
Be sure not to use another brand’s hashtag (unless necessary) as this can often look unprofessional.
AT A GLANCE: YOUR SECRET GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
- Treat hashtags like quick, descriptive, clickable words.
- Pyramid of popularity - use this as a gauge for your hashtag selection.
- Identify the opic - WHAT is the post about.
- Describe the audience - WHO is the post for.
- Select the location - WHERE do you do business.
- Ride the trend - make use of days in the social calendar where applicable.
- Emphasis the brand - share your business to create authority.
- Ask for followers - promote your personal brand hashtag regularly.
- Use hashtag tools - make more informed decisions based on research.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn – I post lots of social media tips and tricks on my profile which I hope you’ll find helpful. Be sure to get in touch with us at FINALLY for any further assistance too. We’re happy to help!