It’s never been more apparent that virtually every business needs a strong online presence to remain competitive. But these days, making your business stand out online is about more than just having an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly website and practicing good SEO.
More and more, people are turning to social media over search engines to discover new places to shop, eat, play, and live, so finding the hashtags that will present your business and its services or products to the right consumers is key. But, much like with SEO, using hashtags to promote your business has its quirks and rules that you need to learn to pull it off successfully.
Understand How Hashtags Work on Different Social Media Platforms
Generally speaking, the technical aspects of how hashtags work are fairly similar across the platforms that use them. On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus, hashtags are a way to categorize user-made content so that users can find posts on specific topics or themes.
However, the way that users use hashtags and browse the content associated with them differs between platforms, and that’s something you need to pay attention to so that you can market your business successfully on social media.
Twitter, in particular, revolves around regionally trending topics. While there are platform-wide favorites that make the rounds each week (i.e. #ThrowbackThursday), many of the most visible tweets in a given period use tweets that make it to trending in regionally or even globally.
For example, if a particular user is interested in photography, on Instagram or YouTube, their interactions with pictures with the hashtag “#picoftheday” would increase the number of similar posts that they’re shown on their Explore page or Recommended feed.
On the other hand, that same user could choose to manually follow #photographers on Instagram or LinkedIn, and that platform would then show them posts where the author includes that specific tag. Because of these differences, you’ll need to tailor the hashtags you choose to the platform and the type of content. But, to make this less complicated, we’re going to break down the 3 overall purposes for choosing hashtags for your business.
Three Types of Hashtags You Want to Use for Your Business
As part of your business’s social media strategy, hashtags shouldn’t only serve a single purpose. Overall, to make sure that you’re engaging your target demographic in ways that will convert to actual sales. To do so, you should focus on these types of hashtags:
- Discovery Hashtags: Identifying the niches that fit your customers’ interests. These tags should help promote your social media presence to new potential customers already looking for similar content.
- Promotional Hashtags: Creating campaigns that build brand and loyalty. These tags should increase engagement with your customers’ social media accounts.
- Branding Hashtags: Responding to trending hashtags to build conversation. These tags should build your brand identity among your followers while also increasing your exposure.
As we review each of these types of hashtags and how they can improve your business’s social media engagement, we’ll also discuss what online tools you can use to find the perfect hashtags for each category.
1. Discovery Hashtags
These hashtags will be the first type that you want to focus on as you’re building your social media following. Before you can promote your content, increase engagement, or establish your social brand identity, you need to get eyes on your posts.
Fortunately, there are many online tools that you can use to analyze which hashtags best help interested consumers find your content and which ones work well for businesses in your industry. Some tools that you should consider using include:
2. Rite Tag
Use these platforms to find relevant tags that are actively being used by consumers on various platforms. Much like with SEO keywords, you want to choose relatively brief hashtags that have enough traffic to gain traction for your posts but not so much that your posts get lost.
And, don’t just go by the numbers alone. When you find relevant hashtags, explore what posts are doing well with that tag on the various websites. Then, you can see if it’s an appropriate cross-platform tag for you to use or if it needs to be kept to certain posts. As Twitter and Facebook only recommend you use one or two hashtags per post, you want to make sure every hashtag counts.
2. Promotional Hashtags
Next, you’ll want to start to create promotional hashtags around which you can build brand, service, or product campaigns.
For example, a promotional hashtag could include a signature product that you sell, a tagline or phrase that’s associated with your brand, or something of that nature.
Unlike “discovery” hashtags, you’ll be creating the traffic around these hashtags, rather than capitalizing on existing traffic.
Promotional hashtags don’t have to remain the same over the life of your business. You can have some that are built around key phrases, like a slogan, but you can also have ones that center around contests or giveaways that followers can enter by using your business’s tag in their posts.
3. Branding Hashtags
Finally, branding hashtags can be among the most important for your business but also the most difficult to master.
Unlike promotional and discovery hashtags, which are related directly to your business and what it’s offering, branding hashtags are all about building conversation.
Of course, the overall objective of promoting your business on social media is to get more people interested in and purchasing your products or services. But, in the long run, the most profitable relationships your business will build are ones with repeat customers.
People who feel connected to your brand and its identity will be more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend your business to friends and family. This is where trending topics will come in. Go on social media and check out how other businesses are posting about community events, promoting any charity work they do, or responding to current events.
How your brand presents itself about issues not directly related to sales will impact how consumers will view the business and what it has to offer. So, make sure that brandable moments that you share online are properly tagged so that people can learn about your brand and engage with your posts to build long-term brand loyalty.