If you run your own small business, you probably use social media sites to promote your products or services. We all know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important in promoting your website and blog content, but what about HASHTAGS? Do they help?
What are hashtags?
Originally hashtags were used to help filter and organise conversations on Twitter, but they are now used on all social media platforms. A hashtag is the sign # followed by a phrase such as marketing, so would be #marketing. It’s a category that posts relating to that subject can be streamed into; anyone can use it for their content, be it a blog post, Instagram or Facebook post.
How can I use hashtags on social media?
A really easy way to get started is by using popular hashtags. One hashtag that I see regularly on Facebook and Instagram is #throwbackthursday or #tbt. This is used as a weekly theme by some Facebook groups where people and brands share posts, or experiences from the past. For example, they may post their first ever product.
There are different hashtags depending on what niche your business is in. For example if you are in the fitness business, you might use #fitnesstips #fitinspiration or #gymspiration to name a few….or if you are in marketing, you could use #marketingtips #marketingstrategy. There are thousands to choose from and research on what are the best hashtags for you to use for your business is crucial. If you go into Instagram and click on the search icon, you can type in a hashtag you think would suit your business – for me it might be #marketingtips. Then that hashtag group comes up, with hundreds of the most popular posts that have used that particular hashtag. Doing your research in this way can help you to decide which hashtags to use (if you are a small business with a small to moderate following, you don’t want to use a hashtag that has over a million posts, as your post is unlikely to be ranked under that hashtag. I try to stick to a variety, some that are under 50k – some 50k-100k – some 100k-500k and then others that are over 500k posts up to 1 million.
How many hashtags should I use?
How many you use depends on what social media platform you are posting on.
- Twitter allows space for hashtags, but advise using no more than two.
- Facebook advises using between three and five.
- Instagram – you can use up to 30 hashtags, but most accounts use around the 10 mark. It’s up to you. obut it is best practice to stick to 2-3.
- TikTok don’t really advise hashtags as they can look spammy, but if you do, no more than three to five – but they should be used with purpose.
- LinkedIn advises a maximum of three per post.
- Pinterest state you can use up to 20 hashtags per Pin description, but it is advisable to use no more than 10.
So what do hashtags do for my business?
Hashtags are a great way to build your brand, boost a marketing campaign or sales campaign, and launch a competition or to just keep in touch with your target audience.
Using hashtags on Instagram and Facebook can really increase awareness of your business and engagement with you and your products/services.
They are an effective way to build your brand, for example use them to launch new products/services, share your promotional material or for just generating interest in what you do.
Hashtags are also great for creating a buzz with your website, spreading news and information about new products, events that you’re involved in or just creating hype for your business.
How do I find the right hashtag words?
It really is as simple as putting a search into Google. Just type in ‘popular hashtags for XXXXX’ whatever business you’re in – fitness, food, crafts, artist, and so on… a list of hashtags will come up. If you are using them on Instagram, as soon as you type the first hashtag, you will also see a list of other similar tags which you can also use. Try and avoid really long hashtags. When writing posts using hashtags, don’t forget to put links to your website as this will encourage more traffic.
Can hashtags help me find my target audience?
Yes, they can! For the purpose of this question, I’m going to talk about Instagram.
When you’re posting for your particular niche or business, you need to find the keywords that will be specific to your business. So, a generic term like ‘photographer’ or ‘blogger’ just won’t cut the mustard. You need people to be able to find out more about you, so for example on my Instagram account, I will post #marketingincharente as I am a Marketing Consultant and I live in the Charente…you get the idea! Or if you are a café, you could specify something on your menu, #fullenglishbreakfast and maybe the town you’re in. It’s more specific.
Being specific is what will help your target audience find you.
How should I use my hashtags?
Use a mix of hashtags on your posts to give yourself the best chance of being discovered and getting ranked on that particular hashtag. Here are some examples of the kinds of hashtag categories you can use:
- Your industry – #smallbusiness #handmadebusiness
- What you sell – #candles #babyclothes #smallbizmarketing
- Your specialty – #vegancandles #naturalfabrics #marketingtips
- Who wants to buy – #homedecor #babyshower #socialmediastrategy
- Location – #candleslondon #babyclothesuk #marketingcharente
- Event hashtags – #mothersday
- Daily hashtags – #manicmonday #throwbackthursday
The reason you use all these different types of hashtags is to keep your content in view for as long as possible. The most popular will bring a brief flurry of activity, then the moderately popular hashtags will kick in and your content will stay active on those for a few hours. Then your more niche specific hashtags will be noticed.
Of course, you will also receive activity from your followers, so you are still reaching out to your existing potential customers, as well as new ones.
Can I set up my own hashtag?
The simple answer is ‘yes, you can!’
But, there is a but! You cannot legally own a hashtag. If you find one that hasn’t been used, which will take a lot of research, you can register it. However, even registering the hashtag will not stop other people from using it – it’s not like owning a website domain. Registering just means you’ve staked a claim to that hashtag and adds you to the hashtag directory, where you can go into a bit more detail as to what the hashtag is for…you can write a description.
How do I register my hashtag?
Once you have found a new hashtag relevant to your business, you can register it on sites like Hashtags.org
As soon as you have registered it, use your hashtag ALL THE TIME! Use it a lot…as much as you can! At first you will be the only one using it, but after time you will find others using it for articles, posts or blogs that talk about the same subject.
Do hashtags help with SEO?
Again, the simple answer is ‘yes’. Hashtags are basically keywords, so they help you to categorise your content and help social media users to find it. Using hashtags in your social media posts will give you more opportunities to have your content in Google search results.
Finally, just be aware that hashtag use varies greatly with each social media platform so you need to be mindful of which platform you’re on!
Happy Hashtag Hunting! Let me know how you get on, and if you find hashtag research all a bit overwhelming, give me a shout and I can help you with your hashtag strategy.
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Thank you for your link back – much appreciated. Cindy
Hi Cindy, I absolutely love your blog so I have nominated you for The Sunshine Blogger Award. I hope you will accept the award and that you enjoy answering the questions. Here is the link: https://debbyseo.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/sunshine-blogger-award/ — With love, Debby Winter
Thank you for your nomination – I will do the same, it’s a great idea in these tough times to share a bit of sunshine!
You’re the best! I truly appreciate your participation 🙂
Looking forward to it, it will be fun!
Thank you so much.
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You have prepared a great content. Thank you.
Thank you, glad you found it useful. 😀
Thank you for explaining this. I couldn’t find an explanation when I googled and this is so helpful. Cheers!
You’re very welcome. If you need any further help, feel free to drop me an email.