Hashtags on your social media posts can be one of the best tools at your disposal in helping your digital content find a wider audience – but they’re also one that’s often overlooked.
Hashtags – those little labels on social media posts marked with a # – aren’t just for kids keeping track of the latest viral trends. Hasht
ags help social media users (on all platforms) find content based on specific topics of interest to them. That means whenever you add a hashtag to your social media ad or organic post it can be discovered by anybody searching for, or following, that hashtag.
How they work
They work in a similar way to keywords in a Google search. The hashtags you use in your social media ads should reflect the topics your preferred audience is likely to be searching for. It can change, it can be hard to predict, and the best hashtags to use will differ based on whether you want to boost website traffic, generate leads, boost your personal brand, or promote listings.
One important thing to note is that hashtags are not a replacement for an automated digital campaign targeted to the right audience, based on your customer databases. What they are is a good way to build even further on that target audience and make sure as many interested parties as possible see your content.
Location is key
Location hashtags are important for both branding campaigns and listing campaigns. In larger areas hashtag both the city and, in a separate hashtag, the suburb. #Christchurch #Riccarton.
Other location-based hashtags to consider are school zones or other local attractions such as shopping centres, parks, or beaches. Do some research to see what hashtags those locations of interest are already using so you tap into their audience.
Tag your company
Create a hashtag that’s unique to your company and, if necessary, another one that is unique to your agency.
Encourage your whole team to use these same hashtags in all their digital branding and listing campaigns. You can also add it to hard copy marketing materials so your audience knows how to quickly find your content on social platforms.
Describe your listing
For listing campaigns you can also add more general hashtags that describe to the key characteristics of your listing that your target audience could be searching for, like #beachfront or #artdeco.
Promote your brand
For branding campaigns you can add hashtags that describe the content you’re sharing or the expertise you are promoting such as #marketupdate, #freeappraisals. Don’t go too broad with this, and keep it relevant to your ad or post content. Otherwise, you’ll end up spamming people who aren’t interested in your content and annoying them.
Do some research
Have a look at the hashtags your competitors are using for ideas. If they’re all tagging the same thing that’s relevant to your content, make sure you add the same hashtag so you’re part of the conversation.
How many is too many?
When it comes to how many hashtags you should use, it’s all about a balance between making it easy for the right audience to find you, and keeping your content readable and relevant.
It also differs for different platforms. Previous studies indicate fewer hashtags work better on Twitter (plus you have to consider the character count) but as many as eight or nine are fine on Instagram. On Facebook two or three is optimum. It’s also worth testing different numbers of hashtags to see what works best for your audience.
A good rule of thumb is don’t let your content be overwhelmed by the hashtags!
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