Hashtags have become an indispensable tool for every social media marketer. The right hashtags can help you reach new audiences, increase engagement, and drive conversions. But with millions of hashtags on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, how do you identify the best social media marketing hashtags to grow your business?
This comprehensive guide will teach you proven hashtag research tactics to build an optimized list of branded, industry, and trending hashtags that resonate with your target audience. Whether you’re running an Instagram marketing campaign or want to boost engagement on Twitter, leveraging the appropriate hashtags is critical for social media success.
Let’s explore some of the most effective methods for researching and integrating strategic hashtags for each of your marketing goals.
Why do Hashtags Matter? The Stats Don’t Lie:
- Discovery Dynamite: Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement than those without. That’s like doubling your high fives at a concert!
- Reach Rocket Fuel: Instagram posts with at least one hashtag see a 30% higher average reach. Imagine 30% more people cheering your name – chills, right?
- Community Catalyst: Hashtags connect you with like-minded souls. Think of it as finding your tribe in the vast social media jungle. Studies show that 71% of people who discover a brand through a hashtag are more likely to make a purchase. Boom! Instant brand loyalty squad.
- Now, the million-dollar question: how do you choose the right social media marketing hashtags for your business? It’s not just about sprinkling in trending terms like confetti. Here’s the recipe for hashtag success:
Analyze Your Competitors’ Top Hashtags
One of the fastest ways to discover impactful hashtags is to see which ones your competitors and leading brands in your industry use most frequently. Spend time researching their social media profiles to identify the common hashtags they include across posts.
For example, if you run a gluten-free bakery, analyze brands like Katz Gluten Free and Enjoy Life to see if any baking, gluten-free, or dessert-related hashtags appear repeatedly. Their followers are likely already searching those tags.
On Instagram, click on a competitor’s profile and view their hashtag highlights at the top to see which ones they want to feature prominently. You can also use a hashtag analytics tool like RiteTag to easily view any brand’s top hashtags by volume along with engagement data.
Focus on hashtags with at least 10,000 or more posts as those have scaled to become popular communities. By tapping into the same hashtags, you can get your content in front of similar audiences already tuned into those tags. Just be sure to use them in a relevant context.
Conduct Keyword Research to Find Related Hashtags
Start by making a list of your most important keywords—including your brand, products, and services. You can gather keyword ideas from past marketing campaigns, Google Analytics, and social media insights.
Next, use the social media platform’s search bar to find relevant hashtags containing each keyword. For example, search “yoga” on Instagram to reveal popular hashtags like #yoga, #yogalife, #yogaeverydamnday, and more.
Tools like RiteTag also allow you to input seed keywords and will generate hundreds of hashtag ideas grouped into categories like branded, descriptive, niche, acronyms, etc.
Focus on identifying a mix of broad and niche hashtags. Broad tags like #yoga help cast a wide net and are ideal for reaching mass audiences. More specific hashtags like #vinyasa or #yogateacher target subsets interested in those angles.
Curate a master hashtag list grouped into categories like branded tags, community tags, event/seasonal tags and niche tags for easy research.
Track Trending Hashtags in Your Niche
Monitoring real-time trending hashtags is critical for identifying relevant conversations and tapping into virality. Jump on trending hashtags to insert your brand into cultural moments and breaking news stories.
The Twitter search bar offers an easy way to search trending hashtags by time and location filters. For example, search “dogs —Trends” to view the current most popular dog-related hashtags.
Instagram and TikTok also showcase popular hashtags and trending sounds when creating new posts. Check these sections regularly for inspiration.
Tools like Trendsmap and RiteTag display live maps of the most popular hashtags by geography and industry so you can stay on the pulse. Focus on trends aligned to your business with enough volume to be worthwhile.
Pro tip: To increase discovery, incorporate both general trending tags along with your branded hashtag. For example, a museum could use #ThrowbackThursday plus their own tag like #CityHistoryMuseum.
Listen to What Followers Are Saying
Your own followers and community often organically use relevant hashtags that could be valuable for your brand. Regularly review recent user-generated content tagged with your business handle and analyze all the hashtags used. Look for any common themes or high-performing hashtags worth testing in your own content.
Social listening is also key. Set up listening streams for your brand name and products using tools like Mention or Hootsuite. Review the hashtag frequency and sentiment reports to pick up on which community hashtags your audience is using most. Listening provides a goldmine of first-party hashtag data right from your customers.
Test Hashtag Performance and Refine
The only way to truly gauge hashtag effectiveness for your brand is to test them directly. Start by shortlisting 8-10 of your top branded, industry, niche, and trending hashtags to trial.
Incorporate a mix into several posts and ads. Use analytics tools within each platform plus social listening software to track performance. Monitor the volume of posts, impressions, engagement rate, and sentiment for each hashtag.
Determine which hashtags consistently drive the most reach, clicks, conversions and favorable sentiment. Then increase usage of the top performers.
Also, assess branded hashtag usage in user-generated content and if any organically go viral, double down on promoting those.
Continuously refine your hashtag strategy based on performance data. Expand usage of hashtags demonstrating the strongest resonance. Phase out any that consistently underperform for reach and engagement.
Stay on top of fresh trends and community hashtags by rinsing and repeating your research regularly.
Hashtagging Hacks for Different Platforms:
Each platform has its own hashtag etiquette. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
- Instagram: Go for 5-10 relevant hashtags sprinkled throughout your caption and comments. Bonus points for branded hashtags!
- Twitter: Keep it tight with 1-2 well-chosen hashtags. Remember, tweets have limited character space.
- Facebook: Use 2-3 hashtags, but don’t stuff them into your post. Let them flow naturally within the text.
- LinkedIn: Professionalism is key. Stick to 1-2 industry-specific hashtags that showcase your expertise.
Remember: Hashtags are living, breathing things. Monitor their performance, swap out underperformers, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Hashtag Case Studies: Real-World Inspiration
Let’s see these tips in action:
- #BeardGang: This niche hashtag helped a men’s grooming brand build a loyal community of bearded enthusiasts, leading to a 25% increase in online sales.
- #TravelTuesday: A travel agency used this popular hashtag to share inspiring travel tips, attracting new followers and boosting engagement by 40%.
- #SupportSmallBusiness: During the pandemic, this hashtag became a rallying cry, connecting local businesses with potential customers and generating millions of dollars in revenue.
Optimizing your hashtags is one of the highest-impact tactics for succeeding with social media marketing. By tapping into branded, industry, and trending hashtags aligned to your business, you can expand reach into interested new audiences, spark engagement from existing followers, and drive conversions.
First audit competitors and influencers in your space for tried-and-true community hashtags. Conduct keyword research to uncover niche tags. Monitor live trending topics in your category. Listen to how your own followers use hashtags. And most importantly, continually test hashtags and analyze performance data to determine the ideal mix to drive results.
Strategic hashtag marketing provides a major opportunity to grow your brand and bottom line. Use this guide to research and integrate the best hashtags into your social media campaign.