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  • Writer's pictureDigital Natives

#Hashtag This Over In Your Brain...

There is a general love/hate relationship with #hashtags. Some feel they muddy up feeds while others feel that they are the only way to get noticed on certain platforms. Questions [and opinions] abound!

  • What is a hashtag?

  • Why do people use hashtags? Meaning, social media users, not businesses marketing themselves.

  • Where should I put hashtags?

  • How many hashtags should I use?

  • Which hashtags are relevant?

  • Do hashtags really work?

We don't claim to have all the answers but we do have extensive experience in utilizing hashtags and know what works and doesn't work for our clients. We have a few general rule-of-thumb guidelines that we thought we would share. But, first....

  • What is a hashtag? Starting with the basic question..... From a business owner's perspective, hashtags help you connect with those that are searching for services or products that you offer. In addition to products and services, hashtags help you to raise awareness for social causes, increase engagement and connect you with like minded people.

Before you go all crazy on hashtags the very first thing that you have to know is how to approach them! A great example would be:

You open a brand new business. Let's call it XYZ Business. The knee jerk reaction is to automatically use #XYZBusiness. Are we saying NOT to use it? NO! But, let's backtrack this. If it is a brand new business, you are using social media to spread the word. You are hoping that people search hashtags to follow and that you post will show up. But, why would it? If no one knows about your business, they certainly aren't going to know to search for it with that specific hashtag. At this point, the name does nothing to indicate what the business is about nor does anyone know about your business. It would, however, be beneficial to use the hashtag in your social media profile. We'll explain that later. 😎

So, what WOULD you use? You need to think like your ideal customer/client. Let's say that XYA Business is a boutique style, mobile, beach side hair wrapping business that caters to tourists and vacationers at tropical locations. Here is where the fun [and heavy research] begins. A few ideas to throw out for this particular example would be:

We really could go on. But those examples would get you thinking in the right direction.

So, back to the questions from the very beginning.

  • Why do people use hashtags? Social media users use hashtags on ALL platforms and search engines. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Google to name just a few. Hashtags allows them to find posts that will serve up content that they are interested in. Instagram in particular allows you to "follow" hashtags. [Think research]

  • Where should I put hashtags? The debate rages on as to whether hashtags are more effective in the actual post or in the case of Instagram if they should be placed in the first comment of the post. There is NO DEFINITIVE ANSWER for this. Test after test have been done by digital marketing companies and regardless of where the hashtags are placed the results are the same. If a social media user is searching by hashtag and you have that hashtag in either your post content or the first comment - your post WILL show up in the results.

Test after test have been done by digital marketing companies and regardless of where the hashtags are placed the results are the same.
  • How many hashtags should I use? Hate to do this to you but, that is another "It depends". While most platforms do not have restrictions on the number of hashtags you use, Instagram does. 30 is the maximum number of hashtags allowed on Instagram. Should you use all 30? Probably not. However, if you choose to use the maximum you should stick to a 5 | 10 | 15 rule. 5 general hashtags [low impact} 10 niche hashtags {medium impact} and 15 SUPER niche hashtags {high impacts} Using the example above #hairwrap would be considered a general hashtag. The reason you want to use LESS of them is that when social media users search the hashtag #hairwrap there are 50+ posts per day with that hashtag. You won't appear in the first few scrolls in Instagram unless the planets aligned and the exact moment you posted someone was entering a search for #hairwrap. If that were to happen we highly suggest you play the lottery! However, #bohobraids is a much more niche hashtag to use and gives you a better chance of being seen.

  • Which hashtags are relevant? Do Your Research! Research your competition, research peripheral companies that may have crossover. There are a few hashtag tools available that are free*. and are two places to start. We're not saying ALL of the suggestions offered up by those two are relevant but they will help to get you thinking. Instagram itself is a wealth of knowledge. Search your intended hashtag in Instagram and it will give you the number of posts that utilize that hashtag and, of course, give you the option to "FOLLOW" that hashtag which is a great way to keep up with what your competition is doing. 😎

It's a good idea to have "core hashtags" but don't be afraid to change them up. Trends change, how people search changes and even your product and/or services evolve.
  • Do hashtags really work? This one is a definitive answer - YES! People DO use hashtags to search for businesses, products, services, things to do and ideas. We hate to keep bringing up Instagram [not really] but your analytics in Instagram will tell you the number of users that saw your posts from organic vs HASHTAGS. Check it out - you'll be surprised! And, monitor your analytics FREQUENTLY.

It's a good idea to have "core hashtags" but don't be afraid to change them up. Trends change, how people search changes and even your product and/or services evolve. Digital Marketing is constantly changing - you need to stay on top of your analytics, your approach, content, campaigns - ALL OF IT! Digital Marketing is not a "set it and it's done" type of strategy.

And, remember that We'll explain that later. 😎? While #XYZBusiness may not be established yet, you do want to use it in your profiles and, yes, even in your posts. You want to encourage your followers to use your hashtag. For our fictitious hair wrap business, you could ask customers to post selfies with their hairwraps and use #XYZBusiness in their post. [And, of course, actually tag your business}. In time, your business hashtag WILL become relevant.

If you need help researching relevant hashtags for your business - call us! We'll travel down that rabbit hole FOR YOU! It can get overwhelming for some, that's why we do what we do.


The Crew at ToDN

The Tribe of Digital Natives prioritizes the needs of each client. We strive to help you find your brand voice through a variety of services. We are a culture of thinkers and makers who have been bringing our client's ideas into existence since 2010. Our business works closely with each brand in order to create solid communication strategies that will produce measurable results.

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