Keying into critical social conversations requires so much more than #this
Hashtags are essential to increasing the visibility of your content on social media, but there’s more to it than throwing a hashtag at the #start #of #every #word. Even though posts with hashtags are 55% more likely to be shared, there’s still a lot of noise to rise above. Employing hashtag research and implementing good strategies will take your content to the top. Here we’ll share our top tips to devise the perfect hashtag block and get your content in front of the right eyes.
What’s a Hashtag Block?
A hashtag block is a carefully curated selection of hashtags that you attach to your social media posts. You can only add 30 hashtags to an Instagram post, so choose these carefully! Not all hashtags are created equal, and the increased visibility provided by each keyword depends on how often it’s used, how popular your post is and the size of your following.
The way we see it, there are three kinds of hashtags: general, community and branded. We use all of them, but know that they differ widely in terms of scope and audience engagement.
The Three Types of Hashtags
General hashtags are single nouns and verbs, for example: #makeup and #beauty. They have been used millions of times on social media, but they aren’t very specific. Searching the hashtag #beauty could result in photos of sunsets when you were trying to find some makeup tutorials. Plus, some users just hashtag popular words on irrelevant photos for the exposure and likes, diluting the value of the hashtag.
Community hashtags are usually more than one word, and tend to be about people or identities—for example: #makeupjunkie and #beautyguru. They have been used fewer times than general hashtags, but will expose your post to a more specific community—in this case, beauty addicts who engage with each other and are more likely to follow your content if it’s relevant. If you’re chasing follows as opposed to likes, you should be seeking out online communities instead of keywords and making a name for yourself there.
Branded hashtags are hashtags you create to build a community around your brand. They can be as simple as hashtagging your brand name to create a home for everything you post that incorporates user-generated content too. This strategy works best when you have a well-established brand with loyal followers. The second type of branded hashtag corresponds to a strategic campaign. Coke’s #ShareaCoke encourages people to snap photos of their friends (with Cokes in hand). In either case, the word or phrase needs to be unique, so you filter out unrelated content from your branded stream.
Executing Hashtag Strategy
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to find the mix of general and community hashtags that will elevate your posts in support of your brand’s overall goals. The easiest way to find hashtags is to use the Instagram app and search for keywords and subjects that are relevant to your brand. The suggestions that pop up as you’re typing will highlight synonymous tags (#makeupfanatic instead of #makeupjunkie), a great way to discover new ways to reach the same audience.
Another way is to study your competition. You might have to wade through the comments to find all their hashtags, but once you scroll up to their first comment (where the hashtag block usually appears) you can find a treasure trove of keywords. Research those tags and see what works, but don’t just copy/paste—make sure you adapt their block to your brand.
Organize potential hashtags in a spreadsheet or table so you have them all in one place. You can make note of their popularity and categorize in columns so you have something to work from when you’re revising your hashtag block. You should be adding to this list and refreshing your tags periodically to expand your content reach and amplify your brand.
Hashtags are a key pathway to connect your target audience with your brand, so use them strategically. When used correctly, hashtags can be a powerful tool to get your content in front of potential leads and start the process of converting them into loyal fans. This stuff matters, and we take it seriously at Yakkety Yak. To learn how we can help devise a targeted social media strategy for your brand, contact us today.