Before we get to the why, we will look at what hashtags are. For anybody on social media, the hashtag is a familiar sight. The hashtag used to be the pound sign in your mobile phone. Today, the hashtag is like your curator in a museum or exhibition space; you can access all the information relevant to a particular topic, through the right usage of a hashtag. It is a curatorial mechanism that collects all the information in a social channel in one place.
By using the hashtag sign # before a word or phrase(without punctuation or space), a link gets created. By clicking on this link, you will find yourself exposed to all the content relevant to the word used in your hashtag. For example, if you search for #socialmediamarketing on Twitter, you will be able to view all the posts, chats, and tweets that have been posted under that hashtag.
#Hashtags and Business
You can very well imagine the enormous potential of the hashtag for social media marketing, for businesses of all sizes. Do you wonder how? Because for marketing on social media, hashtags are the surest way of reaching your target audience. Hashtags are everywhere, from Facebook to Pinterest.
Why use hashtags? Because the erstwhile pound sign boosts engagement for your content; in fact, studies have shown that content with hashtags enjoys more engagement than content without them. At the end of the day, social media marketing is all about getting your audience to engage with your content.
Using hashtags automatically helps to categorize your content and this is a great boon when you are searching for a particular type of content. This is a big advantage, when you want to draw attention to a particular campaign. You can create unique hashtags for your brand or campaign, and spark off conversations around that hashtag. This filters a lot of the unwanted content that you find on social, and you get immediate access to content specific to your hashtag. It is a good idea to use unique hashtags for every campaign, and to use hashtags whenever you are posting.
To summarize, hashtags act as a tool for categorization of content on social channels. And with retweeting and sharing, there is great potential to increase reach through its usage. Plus, you get to score on the SEO front as well!
When using hashtags, it is necessary to keep these points in mind:
- Avoid too many hashtags. This can be tiresome for fans to read, and affect engagement. It makes content look like spam. On channels such as Facebook, the less number of hashtags you use, the better. With Instagram however, 11 hashtags per post is a good number.
- Use relevant hashtags; do not use irrelevant or inappropriate hashtags. This can lead to bad user experience associated with your brand.
- Use trending hashtags to your advantage to reach more people, but only use them if they are relevant to your brand and campaign.
- Create unique hashtags for your campaigns to promote constant fan engagement and conversation.
Use capital letters in your hashtag phrases to ensure readability.
The hashtag can be used for different purposes. Based on how you use it, we categorize it into four kinds:
- Brand/Tagline hashtag – hashtag of your brand name, such as #McDonalds, or hashtag of your tagline, as in #HappyMeal
- Campaign hashtag – a hashtag created to promote a specific campaign from your brand, such as #DoUsAFlavor, from Lay’s
- Trending hashtag – hashtags that are currently in vogue, and enjoying plenty of engagement. A popular example is #TBT. Brands can leverage trending but relevant hashtags to join in the discussion
- Content hashtag – hashtags that are part of your content, which you use for optimizing reach. These are not your brand name or tagline. It could be anything ranging from a category, say #cats, to a place such as #USA
- Event hashtag – hashtagging your events to promote them, such as conferences or seminars or a live Q&A session. It could be any event, such as #SuperBowl
The hashtag is among the most important of metrics, since it deals with engagement. As discussed earlier in this post, whenever you use a hashtag, it becomes a link, where you can see all the content containing that hashtag. You can tap into real-time conversations around a particular hashtag. The scope for increasing engagement through hashtag usage is enormous, but it is also necessary to run analytics for your hashtag campaigns in order to measure success. That said, there is also the eventuality of hashtag campaigns that fail, which is why analytics is important, as it helps you to understand what works and what does not with your fans. Based on the kind of hashtag you use, the response varies.
Hashtag analytics is necessary not only to track your hashtags, but also that of your competitors. Analytics determines the success or failure of a hashtag campaign, and also to keep track of hashtags in trend. There are plenty of tools/software that can be used for the purpose of hashtag analytics.
#TOOLS FOR HASHTAG ANALYTICS
Most businesses are knowledgeable of what is available in the market for hashtag analytics. However, if you are new to social analytics, do not worry; here we give you some tools you can use for hashtag analytics. These include social media management software, which include hashtag analytics in their package, as well as tools that you can use only for hashtag tracking.
SMhack is a social media management software, offering a package of tools for social publishing, analytics, and Slack intergration. Their analytics is available for major social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Using it, you get to track the performance of your hashtag campaigns as well. Get comprehensive reports on hashtag engagement, and top hashtags. Identify which hashtags work, and which don’t. You can track hashtags for any time period, and download them as reports.
Hashtagify is a software that is to do with all things hashtag. The software lets you search for specific hashtags. You can search for influencers associated with a particular hashtag. Hashtagify gives details of the popularity of a hashtag in percentage. Not only do you get access to all the content pertaining to your hashtag, you can also see related, trending hashtags. You can see all the top media posts containing whichever hashtag you search for. There is a feature for tracking hashtags on Instagram as well. For in-depth analytics, you can do a trial, or sign up for a paid plan to suit your needs.
Here is a section of a report for #socialmediamarketing. You can view the hashtags related to food in a tabular mode, with details of recent top content containing #socialmediamarketing on the side.
Keyhole is a software that caters to all your social media analytics needs. You can track specific hashtags on Twitter or Instagram through their tracker tool. The tool gives you information on the total number of users for the hashtag, reach, impressions, top posts mentioning the hashtag, and related content. Besides this data, you can view the influencers for the hashtag and a detailed report on hashtags according to type of content, post, or media.
For managing your Twitter hashtag usage, check out Socialert. This is a software that caters to all your Twitter needs. Besides Twitter activity management, Socialert comes with the perks of hashtag and keyword analytics. Socialert promises expert hashtag analytics, and provides you all the support you require for managing a hashtag campaign on Twitter. You can monitor all hashtags, wherever they turn up—tweetchat, contest, or media. Socialert helps you stay updated on what your competitors are up to, with their competitive analytics feature. This is an excerpt from a Socialert report—
When you are in doubt as to how to build your hashtag, RiteTag comes to the rescue. The software offers multiple solutions with regard to hashtags. RiteTag provides hashtag suggestions, for text as well as media. You can make use of the tag sets that RiteTag provides, to add to your content when posting on a social channel. RiteTag gives you access to automation of hashtags. When you post on a social channel, RiteTag optimizes the content, by automatically adding hashtags, or replacing certain words with hashtags that are relevant, and trending on the channel. This translates to better reach and more impressions.
For comprehensive Twitter hashtag analytics, check out Hashtags.org. The software provides hashtag analytics for brands, businesses, and events, to name a few. You can keep track of your hashtags and their activity on social channels, and also gain information on what is trending, hashtag-wise. Tap into the topics of interest on Twitter, and engage in conversations, using the hashtag tracking option.
Mention is a social media monitoring software, that serves both businesses and agencies. Using Mention, you can keep track of your data across social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Since all the data is monitored in real-time, you can see the activity and engagement corresponding to different hashtags in your feed. Monitor not just your hashtags, but other hashtags as well, including those of your competitor brands.
Conclusively, the hashtag is a trend that is here to last, so utilize it as much as possible, and make sure you use the right tools for tracking it. Besides, aren’t hashtags a fun way to approach marketing?
As Twitter and Instagram are the channels where hashtags are used the most, do read these articles on analytics tools available for these channels:
24 Amazing Twitter Analytics and Management Tools
Top 9 Instagram Analytics Tools to Use in 2017
We hope you found this article useful. Do you have any suggestions? Do let us know what you think with a comment!