3 Ways to Improve Your Hashtag Game

If you have any social media marketing knowledge at all, you are likely aware that hashtags are one of the most crucial parts of building a strong online brand (especially on Twitter).

With that being said, not just any hashtag will do. It seems silly that the little pound sign in front of words in a Tweet can be a complex marketing tool, but it truly is.

So, how can you make the most of this tool? I’d recommend the following.

3 Ways to Improve Your Hashtag Game

1. Be specific

Any word can be made into a hashtag, but that doesn’t mean that word will be effective, especially if the word is generic. For example, if you own a take-out pizza place, you could use #Pizza in your tweets. The issue with this, however, would be that people all over the world are using #Pizza. So, when one of your followers clicks on this hashtag, it’s doubtful they will find anything that relates to your business. Instead, they’ll be left sorting through millions of tweets from across the globe about this favorite food staple.

If your hashtag is too generic, your followers will be left sorting through millions of tweets from across the globe to find the content that is relevant to them. Help them get to that content more quickly with a more tailored tag.

Instead, try getting a little more specific. One example of this comes from my own city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Many pizza joints and restaurants use the hashtag #YEGPizza (YEG being the airport code for Edmonton). This is much more productive, since it narrows down the results to pizza that is in Edmonton only.

By doing this, followers of your pizza place will be able to click on #YEGPizza and find tweets from eateries within their own city – a much more relevant feed of content. Also, seeing you engage in this online feed will position you as an active, engaged participant in the Edmonton pizza community. A great boost for your brand!

There are many ways that you can make your hashtags more specific. You can add your location (as done above), reference specific brands (using #Starbucks as opposed to #Coffee), or even create your own hashtag that followers will readily identify with (Nike has taken their infamous “Just Do It” slogan and turned it into #JustDoIt on Twitter. They use this hashtag whenever they reply to a follower who has Tweeted to them about working out, and it has now become a motivational feed for athletic Twitter users around the world).

So before your next tweet, ask yourself “Am I being specific enough?”.

2. Don’t commit hashtag spam – it’s a crime!

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Too many hashtags can result in your tweets looking like spam to your followers. Stick to one or two to keep your viewers engaged!

Have you found yourself wanting to fit as many hashtags into a tweet as you possibly can? Well, I’m here to tell you to stop.

Tweets that contain more than two hashtags immediately see a 17 per cent decrease in engagement.

To viewers, tweets with numerous hashtags can look like spam. The abundance of tags can seem desperate, and your tweet loses credibility. To keep viewers from scrolling past your tweets, stick to one or two hashtags (three at absolute maximum), and make them as pertinent to your audience as possible.

For example, are you tweeting about the upcoming 2017 Superbowl? Use their #SB51 hashtag as opposed to the blanket #Superbowl one. That way, your viewers know you are speaking about this year’s event. Using the latter means your tweet will be buried in with every #Superbowl tweet ever posted, from any year. Way less effective!

Tweets that contain more than two hashtags immediately see a 17 per cent decrease in engagement.

Also, this is the Superbowl-approved hashtag for the event, so it will deliver the most results. It’s the hashtag that sports channels will be using, as well as all official team accounts. Thus, there’s no need to keep adding tags like #Football or #Sports. Your audience will be watching the #SB51 feed, so that’s the best place to connect.

In the end, one succinct, fitting tag is better than a tweet full of hashtag spam!

3. Who else is using this hashtag?

This is a question every person utilizing social media should ask themselves when selecting a hashtag. Twitter has 317 million users, which makes it outstandingly likely that someone else is using the same hashtag as you.

In some cases, it’s okay that someone else is using your hashtag. For example, if you are a bakery that has just made a fresh batch of macarons, using #Macarons is a great idea! That way, people who are interested in delicious confections (and who don’t already know who you are) can see your talent. However, you may want to pair this hashtag with another one that is more specific. For example, if your bakery is in New York City, you could use #Macarons and #NYCBakery, so that people know where to find you.

Twitter has 317 million users, which makes it outstandingly likely that someone else is using the same hashtag as you.

However, if you are a company that is planning a charity fundraising event, you don’t want people clicking on your hashtag and finding other charity events that are also taking place. You want them to find YOUR event, and give to YOUR cause. This is an example of why it’s beneficial to always ask “Who else is using this hashtag?”.

Maybe someone else has already been using #CharityGala, but you can make it unique by adding your company’s name, like so: #SunSpaCharityGala. Or, you can create a specific name for your event and use it as the hashtag, with the year (Ex. #SunnyGala2016).

You may have to get a little creative, but it will pay off in the end when your social media followers are finding you easily and engaging at higher rates.


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