Welcome to the ultimate guide to hashtags for social media agencies. In this comprehensive resource, we'll explore:
- The power of hashtags
- How to develop a successful hashtag strategy
- Best practices for usage
- And tips on leveraging hashtags for maximum engagement.
Let's dive in!
Understanding the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags have become an integral part of social media culture, with millions of users incorporating them into their posts every day. They are a way of categorizing content and making it more discoverable to social media users who are interested in specific topics or trends, and they're crucial to incorporate into your client's social media strategies.
What Are Hashtags and Why Are They Important?
Hashtags are keywords or phrases preceded by the '#' symbol, which makes them clickable and searchable on social media platforms. They allow users to find content related to specific topics, interests, and trends easily. For social media agencies, hashtags are critical for several reasons:
- They help extend the reach of their clients' content to a broader audience.
- Hashtags facilitate engagement by making it easier for users to discover and participate in conversations around specific subjects.
- They can improve a brand's visibility and build awareness by targeting niche communities or participating in trending topics.
- Hashtags are also an excellent way for brands to monitor and track conversations around their products or services. By creating a branded hashtag, companies can encourage users to share their experiences and opinions, which can help build brand loyalty and advocacy.
How Hashtags Work on Different Social Media Platforms
While hashtags originated on Twitter, they have since become a staple on other popular platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. However, the functioning and purpose of hashtags can vary slightly between platforms.
On Instagram, for example, hashtags are a crucial part of the platform's discovery algorithm. Users can follow specific hashtags, and posts that use those hashtags are more likely to appear in their feed. On LinkedIn, hashtags are used primarily to categorize content and make it more discoverable to users who are interested in specific topics.
Regardless of the platform, effective hashtag use can help boost your clients' social media presence. By researching and using the right hashtags, you can help your clients reach their target audience and increase engagement on their posts.
The Role of Hashtags in Social Media Marketing
Hashtags play a pivotal role in social media marketing efforts by maximizing content discoverability, increasing brand awareness, facilitating user-generated content (UGC), and promoting events and campaigns.
By incorporating relevant and targeted hashtags into your clients' social media strategies, you can help them reach the right audience, engage with potential customers, and measure the success of their marketing campaigns. Hashtags can also be used to promote specific events or campaigns, such as product launches or charity fundraisers.
Developing a Hashtag Strategy for Your Agency
An effective hashtag strategy requires careful planning and research, especially for agencies, because a casual misstep can turn into a costly mistake -- for you and for your clients. Let's explore how to develop an effective hashtag strategy for your agency.
Setting Goals and Objectives for Hashtag Use
Before you start researching and using hashtags, it's crucial to set clear goals and objectives for your social media marketing campaigns. Your objectives can include increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, promoting events, or generating user-generated content. Once your objectives are defined, you can determine the strategic use of hashtags that will help achieve these goals.
For example, if your client is hosting an event, you can create a unique hashtag for the event to promote it on social media. This will encourage attendees to share their experiences -- and your social media posts -- and generate buzz around the event.
Researching and Identifying Relevant Hashtags
Identifying relevant hashtags for your clients' social media campaigns involves researching industry-specific, competitive, and trending hashtags. It's essential to find hashtags with a balance of high popularity and low competition, as this increases your clients' content discoverability while targeting a niche audience.
For instance, if your client is a fitness brand, you can conduct a hashtag search related to fitness, such as #fitlife, #fitnessmotivation, or #workout. You can also research hashtags used by your client's competitors and influencers in the industry to identify relevant hashtags.
Use tools like RiteTag, Hashtagify, and Keyhole to find and assess relevant hashtags. These tools provide insights into the popularity, competition, and engagement rates of hashtags, making it easier to choose the right hashtags for your clients' campaigns.
You can also use the hashtag generators on social media scheduling tools like Later to suggest hashtags for your posts based on the caption!
Balancing General and Niche Hashtags
Effective hashtag strategies involve a mix of general and niche hashtags. General hashtags cater to a broader audience, while niche hashtags target specific communities or interests. Strike a balance between the two types of hashtags to ensure your clients' content has maximum visibility and doesn't get lost in a crowded, popular hashtag feed.
For instance, if your client is a travel company, you can use general hashtags like #travel, #wanderlust, #vacation, or location hashtags to reach a broader audience. You can also use niche hashtags like #adventuretravel, #luxurytravel, or #budgettravel to target specific interests and communities.
Creating Branded Hashtags for Your Clients
Branded hashtags are unique to a specific company or campaign and, when used effectively, can increase brand recognition and encourage user-generated content. To create a branded hashtag, consider the following tips:
- Keep it short, memorable, and easy to spell.
- Ensure it's unique and not already in use by another company.
- Make it relevant to your clients' brand, messaging, or campaign theme.
For example, if your client is a restaurant, you can create a branded hashtag that incorporates the restaurant's name or signature dish. This will strengthen the client's online presence and encourage customers to share their dining experiences on social media using the branded hashtag.
Best Practices for Hashtag Usage
Using hashtags effectively requires a solid marketing strategy and adherence to best practices. Let's explore some of the best practices to optimize your clients' hashtag usage on social media platforms.
Optimal Hashtag Quantity for Each Platform
Each social platform has different recommendations for optimal hashtag use:
- Twitter recommends using two hashtags per tweet
- Instagram suggests using 9-15 hashtags per post.
- Facebook recommends using only 1-2 hashtags per post
- LinkedIn suggests using 3-5 hashtags per post.
- Pinterest recommends using 2-5 hashtags per pin.
- Tiktok recommends using 3-5 hashtags per post.
It is important to adhere to these recommendations to avoid overloading your posts with hashtags and maintain a professional, engaging appearance.
However, it is also important to note that these are just recommendations and not hard and fast rules. It is always a good idea to test different quantities and see what works best for your clients' specific audience and content.
Incorporating Hashtags into Captions and Posts
Integrating hashtags seamlessly into your clients' captions and posts is crucial to creating a cohesive, easy-to-read narrative.
Avoid using too many hashtags in the main caption, as it can make the post appear cluttered and unprofessional. Instead, use one or maybe two in the main caption to accent the message you wish to convey. You can consider placing additional hashtags in the first comment on platforms like Instagram or using line breaks to separate hashtags from the main content on other platforms.
Here's how we do it:
Notice our use of "short tail" hashtags, like #socialmedia (34 million posts) and "long tail" hashtags like #socialmediaexpert (1.2 million posts).
It is also important to ensure that the hashtags used are relevant to the content of the post and the target audience. Using irrelevant hashtags can lead to a decrease in engagement and reach, as it can come across as spammy and unauthentic.
Monitoring and Adapting Your Hashtag Strategy
Regularly tracking and analyzing the performance of your clients' chosen hashtags is crucial to determining which are resonating best with their target audience. Use analytics tools and native platform insights to measure hashtag performance and make data-driven adjustments to your hashtag strategy as necessary.
It is also important to stay up-to-date with trending or community-oriented conversations and incorporate relevant hashtags into your clients' posts. This can help increase engagement and reach, as it shows that your clients are actively involved in the conversation and care about their audience's interests.
Avoiding Common Hashtag Mistakes
To ensure the success of your clients' hashtag campaigns, it is important to avoid common mistakes such as using irrelevant or excessively popular hashtags, overusing hashtags or "hashtag stuffing," not customizing hashtag usage for each platform, and ignoring trending or community-oriented conversations.
The easiest way to avoid a hashtag snafu is to simply browse the contents of a hashtag to determine whether your content would be a relevant addition.
Leveraging Hashtags for Maximum Engagement
Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools in a social media marketer's arsenal. They allow users to easily discover and engage with content related to a specific topic or theme. In this section, we'll explore how to take full advantage of hashtags to increase engagement and improve your clients' social media marketing results.
Participating in Trending Hashtag Conversations
Once you've identified a trending hashtag that's relevant to your client's industry, look for opportunities to contribute valuable insights or share timely, engaging content. By doing so, you'll not only increase your clients' visibility, but also establish them as thought leaders in their field.
Utilizing Hashtags for Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are effective tactics for generating buzz and driving engagement on social media.
To make the most of these campaigns, use unique, branded hashtags to promote them and encourage audience participation. This not only helps track user-generated content, but also makes it easier to measure campaign success.
For example, you could ask participants to share a photo or video using your branded hashtag, and then track the number of submissions to determine the campaign's reach and impact.
Encouraging User-Generated Content with Hashtags
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to foster brand loyalty and showcase your clients' products or services through authentic, customer-created content. To encourage UGC, create a branded hashtag specifically for this purpose and encourage your clients' followers to share their own stories or experiences using the hashtag. This not only helps build a community around your client's brand, but also provides valuable social proof that can help drive sales and conversions.
Collaborating with Influencers and Hashtag Campaigns
Influencer marketing is an effective way to reach new audiences and boost your clients' credibility. To make the most of this strategy, collaborate with influencers who align with your clients' values and target audience. Use branded hashtags in their sponsored content to promote specific campaigns or increase overall brand awareness. By doing so, you'll not only reach new audiences, but also establish your clients as trusted authorities in their field.
Conclusion & Recommended Reading
By understanding the power of hashtags, developing a robust strategy, following best practices, and leveraging hashtags for engagement, your agency will help clients stand out in the ever-evolving world of social media.
Want help with hashtag research for your brands? Consider partnering with a white label agency like MixBloom -- we include hashtag research in all the captions we write for our agency partners :) Thanks for reading!