How to Optimize Your Hashtags

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The Hashtag: Why It Matters and What You Need to Know

The hashtag: in today’s world it’s a crucial component of any online marketing effort. From Twitter to Instagram the hashtag is becoming increasingly important across all social media sites. In fact, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+, Squidoo, YouTube, Instagram, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Friendfeed, Waywire, Diaspora, Tout, and Vine all use hashtags as a way to organize content.

So why does the hashtag matter? Well, hashtags improve the visibility of your content. People don’t simply use social media to share content. They also use social media sites like Twitter and Instagram in order to find new content that is relevant to their interests. When your content has hashtags it is much easier for users to find.

Now that you know why you need to use the hashtag, you need to figure out how to master hashtagging—something easier said than done. Part art, part science, effectively using the hashtag in your brand’s social media content requires research, creativity, and innovation. Check out these five essential hashtag tips and tricks.

1. Do Your Research.
Research hashtagWhat keyword are to SEO hashtags and to social media. Just like keywords enhance the visibility of your brand’s content in search engines, hashtags enhance the visibility of your content across social media, helping to ensure that social media users see the things that you are posting. And just like it is important to do keyword research it is also critical to do hashtag research.

Figure out the words and phrases people are using to talk about the products and services that your brand offers. Next, figure out what kind of things consumers associate with your brand. For example, National Geographic frequently utilizes hashtags like #nature and #conservation knowing that followers associate them with such concepts.

The bottom line is that well-researched hashtags will increase the quality and quantity of visitors to your social media site and will also help to facilitate meaningful interaction between consumers and your brand.

2. Keep things short and sweet.
key to a successful hashtag The key to a successful hashtag? Brevity. Your hashtag should be a word or a phrase, not a sentence. This is especially crucial when it comes to Twitter, as you only have 140 characters to work with. In general you will want to keep each hashtag under twenty characters.

3. Get Specific.
Broad hashtags are certainly useful. Ideally your brand should be utilizing hashtags that correspond to its core keywords. But successfully using hashtags means moving beyond the basics. You need to get specific. Take Chobani, for example.

The brand, well known for its Greek yogurt, typically includes general hashtags like #healthy, #greekyogurt, and #eatclean that reflect basic company keywords and core values when posting content to Twitter and Instagram. But the brand also makes use of more specific hashtag.

#madewithchobani hashtag Twitter On Instagram the brand uses the #creationaday hashtag to showoff delicious-looking clean eating dishes. Similarly, Chobani makes use of the #madewithchobani hashtag when posting pictures of innovative follower concoctions like overnight oats, green smoothies, and caramel cheesecake bars made with Chobani Greek Yogurt.

4. Quantity Matters.
Yes, it absolutely matters how many hashtags you use. Ideally, you will want to mix things up a bit. Try to use several broad hashtags in conjunction with more specific hashtags. But do be wary of overusing hashtags. If followers see too many hashtags they may mistake your post for spam. Keep in mind that there isn’t any magic number but typically somewhere between four and ten is ideal.

Interestingly, competitive analysis firm TrackMaven tracked the use of hashtags across Instagram. They found that photos with five hashtags garnered the most interaction and were subsequently the most visible. Studies show that when it comes to Twitter the ideal number is even less. Analysis suggests that tweets with more then three hashtags have much lower engagement and click through rates than those with fewer than three.

5. Stay Current.
trending hashtags trending topic Whenever possible use trending hashtags. It is an excellent way for your brand to maximize visibility. TrendsMap is an excellent tool that allows you to discern trending topics by geographical location. This is an especially great tool for local brands trying to garner visibility.

After all if your target market is in Atlanta it probably doesn’t make much sense to use a hashtag that is trending in Boston. However, a word to the wise: please, do not use a trending hashtag unless you can somehow meaningfully relate it to your brand. Irrelevant content isn’t going to do your brand any favors even if it pertains to a trending topic.

From MavSocial | Social Media Marketing Software for Business

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