Why Hashtags are Important
Why Hashtags Are Important + Hashtags Hacks You'll Want to Try
Hashtags. What are they and why exactly are they important? Should you even be using them? The answer, quite simply, is YES! They are important, you should be using them, and they aren’t that intimidating – at least they don’t have to be! Find out why you should be using hashtags and how exactly you can make them work for your business.
Make sure to grab my Hashtag Vault workbook at the end of this post to help you manage and collect your relevant hashtags.
What you need to know about hashtags and why they are important.
What are hashtags?
There are tons of questions surrounding the use and importance of hashtags, especially when you’re a small business owner without a whole lot of experience in this social media world. You know what Facebook is. You know what Instagram is (go here to find out why your business should be on Instagram). You know what a hashtag looks like – but what do they really do? Well, in lamens terms – it gets you found.
Think of hashtags like keywords. They are a way to connect your social media content to a specific topic, event, category, or conversation. They make it easier to discover new content around specific topics and make it easier for your content to be discovered as well. Hashtags aggregate all social media content with the same hashtag into one place, and that can be a valuable tool for your business.
Where should hashtags be used?
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all social media platforms that make use of hashtags. But you’ll want to use them differently on each platform. So let’s take a closer look at each and dissect the best practices for each platform.
A hashtag on Twitter ties conversations from different users into one comprehensive stream. Even if Twitter users aren’t connected to one another talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their tweets will appear in the same stream on the Twitter feed. On Twitter, you’ll generally want to limit the number of hashtags you use since you have a limited amount of characters to use and you’re likely trying to comment on a specific conversation.
How many hashtags to use on Twitter: 1-2 hashtags per post.
Facebook hashtags also tie conversations of different users together into one stream. On Facebook, posts with fewer hashtags tend to get better engagement. I suggest using hashtags when they make sense and when you use something relevant that people can filter on to find relevant conversations.
How many hashtags to use on Facebook: 1-2 hashtags per post.
The most notable place that you’ll want to use hashtags in on Instagram. A hashtag on Instagram will tie unrelated users content together into one dedicated hashtag stream. As long as your account is public, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Instagram post. Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram.
How many hashtags to use on Instagram: Up to 30 hashtags per post. I recommend using 15-28 per post.
How do figure out what hashtags to use?
We are going to focus our hashtag efforts on Instagram because this is the platform that hashtags will get you the most eyes on your posts and help build engagement from people who don’t already follow you. When used correctly, Instagram hashtags can help you grow your reach, get more engagement, and attract more followers.
In order to be successful with hashtags, you need to be strategic about what hashtags you use and when you use them.
Using the most popular Instagram hashtags is usually not your best strategy. It’s better to find and use hashtags that are smaller more niche, and have an engaged audience that’s relevant to your industry.
01. Start by researching your niche and audience.
See what your audience and competitors are using. Find out what hashtags your audience is using and see which ones fit the content that you’re publishing. Your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords that your audience is actually searching for.
02. Research your competitors.
It’s important to note that “competitors” in this instance isn’t quite the right word. Maybe… influencer is a better term to use. One of the best ways to find relevant hashtags is by following Instagram influencers that have the same (or similar) target audience as you.
03. Make sure they are not banned.
Just as important as finding the right hashtags (or more so), you’re going to want to make sure that the hashtags you find haven’t been banned by Instagram. So how do you know if a hashtagged has been banned? You’ll have to check. To do that, type the hashtag into Instagram’s search tool. Click on the TAGS tab, then click on the hashtag you want to use. Ifit goes to the feed, you’re good to go. If it shows this message at the top “Recent posts from #hashtag are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines” – steer clear. It’s been banned.
04. Monitor your hashtag performance.
In order to better adjust your strategy, you should analyze your hashtag performance. Instagram Insights tool is pretty basic and it only provides you with the number of post visitors who visited your post through the hashtag browser. However, you can still use this to help monitor what’s working. If you want more information than that, consider using one of the tools I’m about to share with you below.
Additional Hashtag Tools to Use
Beyond this organic research, there are TONS of tools out there that can help you find the absolute best hashtags to use for your niche. I’m going to share a few of my favorites with you.
Many of the tools out there range in price, but many of them are at least $50 and up. HOWEVER, because we are all small business owners here, I’m going to focus on the ones that are powerful, but still have a low-cost. So this is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are the options that I believe will be worth the cost and not waste your hard-earned small business dollars.
The first one worth looking into is Flick Instagram Hashtag Tool. This tool is great because you can find, manage, and analyze Instagram hashtags very easily. You can see which hashtags are performing best and where your post ranks on the hashtag feed. You’ll also receive detailed insights into your hashtag performance. This really is a powerful hashtag tool that will help you step up your hashtag game.
Free Trial: 7 days
Cost: £9.99 (about $13.00 USD) / month
Discount Available: 10% off your first month using this link
Okay, so this one is a little hack that I’ve used. Tailwind is a great tool! It is in my opinion, however, a little pricy when you consider that it only does social posting for Instagram and Pinterest, and you have to pay per platform. It is worth noting, you can share your Instagram post to Facebook through Tailwind, but that’s about it.
If you’re like me, I have other social networks that I manage and I don’t really want to have to use several different platforms to post my content. I prefer to use ContentStudio for all of my post scheduling.
However, Tailwind has an awesome free trial period. It doesn’t limit you to a specific amount of time, it limits you to a specific amount of posts. And the hashtag tool is available on the free trial, so you can get a feel for if you find it useful or not. It’s a bit of a pain not being able to schedule all your platforms through this, but if you’re looking for a good Instagram hashtag tool, it could definitely be useful.
Free Trial: 30 posts
Cost: $14.99 / month / social profile – OR – $119.88 / year / social profile (4 months free)
Discount Available: Get a free month if you use this link.
Track & Collect Your Hashtags for Easy Use.
Hashtag research can be daunting. However, I have a super-easy way to start making that task MUCH easier and much faster. I’ve created a free workbook that you can use to start managing all the hashtags that you’re researching.
Download a copy of the workbook. Once you’ve researched a hashtag, copy it into your workbook and before you know it, you’ll have your own collection(s) of hashtags that you can copy/paste into your posts.
*BONUS* – you’ll even find out what size (and how many of each size) hashtags you should be using for the most engagement and biggest reach.
There you have it. This is the best way to start using hashtags to your advantage. Stop throwing in random hashtags, it’s not doing you any favors. Take the time, do some research, and grow your platform!
Need more help? Check out our Social Media Marketing plans that we offer to get your social media working for your business the way it should be.
Fair warning, some of the links provided in this article may be affiliate links. Most of them will give you a great deal if you use them, but it will also give me a great deal too. Basically, it’s a win-win situation.