Initially utilized for Roman measurements of weight, and also known as the "pound sign" or "number sign," the all-mighty "#" is now the universal go-to to see what's trending on the web. Through filters on Instagram, Facebook, and most popularly and originally, Twitter- users across the world create and utilize hashtags to stay up to date with current affairs, to start movements, or to have fun and see if their hashtag can go global.
Well, these are all good questions, and Studio x., the top social media team in Philadelphia, has the answer. Today, we're going to start with the "WHY?"
Posts on social media channels that include hashtags get, on average, almost 12% more engagement from followers than posts that don't. By using hashtags, you can reach an audience that might not be directly following you, you can develop your business with a branded hashtag, and create more of a sense of community around your brand as well. But be careful, because overusing or not using the right hashtags can lead you down a slippery slope that makes your page look inauthentic!
For a firsthand look, open up Instagram, click on the magnifying glass at the bottom, the "Search" feature. Type in something you love, for example, we'll use the term "Frisbee." Do YOUR search for something that you built your business around, something you're passionate about, and want to find more people who love it as you do. After you enter the term, click "Tags" instead of "Top,” and search! Now you can scroll through the content of other users using this tag, as well as the associated variations!
Going through these posts, sorted by popularity and date, is like having paid research on who your potential client base could be, but for free! How you take that information and use it is up to you. We recommend maybe trying to connect with some of these users through your business profile. Perhaps they will follow your business back, and then they will start liking and sharing YOUR hash-tagged content. A simple follow and comment on someone's profile who may benefit from your products or services, may read as a little aggressive to some, but if you make the connection authentic, and don’t say something like "Cool" or a thumbs-up emoji, you stand a better chance.
As your "#Frisbee" search may have shown, there is probably a LOT of variations on your hashtag. That might include "#Frisbeegolf," "#Frisbeedog,"#Frisbeetrickshots," so on and so forth.
To start, going for the most popular one (#Frisbee) isn't ALWAYS the best option, though it is the most obvious. "#Frisbee" has over 740,000 posts linked to it on Instagram right now, where "#Frisbeelife" has only 11,200. So, while more people might use that first tag regularly, it also faces more significant competition. Try using the few most popular and throw a couple more custom options in at the end of those as well. Most social networks allow you to post numerous hashtags, and that we recommend- but again- with constraint.
Unfortunately, there is no golden rule and no solid research as to how many hashtags is the right number. Usually, we suggest going between 7 and 15, depending on the size of your business (if you are brand new, use more!), how long your post is (character and content counts), and relevance!
Yes, relevance matters, even for hashtags! If you go ahead and try to use the most popular hashtags on any social network (think: #Love, #Style, #Food, etc.) without having it contextually link to your post, it might turn people off. Make sure you are varying your quality content and keeping it relevant to let potential followers know you are the real deal.
At Studio x., we like to keep it varied with more popular search terms, as well as smaller, more specific ones. In a post about "social media marketing" we'll try things like #digitalmarketing #socialmedia #philadelphia #socialmediaexpert #studioxphl and more to diversify but keep it applicable.
If you are a local business, instead of a national brand, do some research into what your local competition is doing and modify or borrow some of it. Use regionally appropriate hashtags like "#FrisbeePhilly" or create your own branded hashtag (#MyFrisbeeCompany) specific to your business, for followers to use in their posts with your products. Though it may take lots of time, effort, and yes- some money- to get your branded hashtag off the ground, it can make things like viewing testimonials, building community, and connecting with your REAL fans all that much easier.
Make sure to use relevant hashtags in all of your social media content to attract new followers to your pages. Follow some of the hashtags you are going to be writing for, and without being creepy, engage in some pages and interact with consumers or other businesses that use those hashtags currently. Try to vary your hashtags and content every few posts. See what your competition is doing, and feel free to borrow and better it. Last, but not least, if you need assistance growing your business, one #pound at a time, contact the best social media management team in Philadelphia, Studio x., today to discover how we can help you!