Over 60% of the world’s population engages with social media, and in the United States, approximately 90% of the population actively participates. This equates to more than 302.5 million active social media users in the U.S. as of 2023.
These statistics highlight the vast potential reach for your business through social media campaigns. However, in reality, your posts likely achieve far fewer interactions consistently, due to a variety of influencing factors.
Improving your reach can involve incorporating a hashtag campaign into your social media strategy. Effective use of hashtags can significantly enhance your social media reach and engagement. But, it requires more than simply attaching #ThrowbackThursday to your posts.
In this blog, we will guide you on effectively using hashtags to expand your reach and increase your social media impressions.
What Is a Hashtag?
The hashtag, one of social media’s most recognizable symbols, is familiar to many but understood by few.
So, what exactly is a hashtag?
Essentially, a hashtag is a metadata tag that is widely used on social media for categorizing content. It typically includes a keyword or phrase following the hash (#) symbol, also known as an octothorpe.
Initially, Twitter, now known as X, first introduced the hashtag in 2007. Web marketing specialist Chris Messina created it to help people with similar interests connect. Furthermore, Messina aimed to establish a link across platforms for like-minded individuals, and his invention proved successful!
Consequently, today, people across the globe use hashtags on various platforms for diverse purposes. They employ them in marketing campaigns, to express support for causes, and to initiate conversations for social media engagement.
Why Should You Use Hashtags?
Originally, the primary purpose of inventing hashtags was to organize the chaotic landscape of social media. Specifically, they group similar conversations, allowing audiences to easily discover content relevant to them.
Now, today, hashtags have evolved into a potent tool for expanding your online presence. But what do they aim to achieve? Although they don’t directly boost your follower count, you can enhance your social media reach by:
• Appearing among the top posts for a specific topic • Securing visibility at the forefront of people’s feeds
Furthermore, let’s explore additional benefits of incorporating a hashtag campaign into your social media strategy:
Hashtags add context to your social media posts
In a world where short-form content like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts is popular, and captions are brief, hashtags help you convey more with less. They allow you to make a bigger impact on social media without needing long explanations.
Helps Your Audience Find You
People often follow specific hashtags to discover content that interests them. For example, they might browse #travel to see travel videos and beautiful global destinations or #food for trending recipes and restaurant recommendations.
By strategically using popular hashtags on your content, you can make your business more discoverable. Beautiful content tagged with the right hashtags can greatly extend your social media reach and connect you more effectively with your target audience.
Increase Engagement With Followers
Engaging your followers on social media through posts that ask questions or stage contests can effectively generate brand engagement. However, this strategy typically works best when your brand already has a substantial following.
To expand the reach of your engagement posts on social media, you can use hashtags to join larger conversations or trending topics. These hashtags help your engagement posts reach a broader audience, enhancing your brand’s visibility.
Raising Brand Awareness with Hashtags
In addition to following popular hashtags, you can use branded hashtags to boost brand awareness. These can either be your brand name or a catchy tagline.
When posting about a particular topic on social media, include your branded hashtags in your engagement posts. This approach not only raises awareness of your brand but also helps your audience easily find specific posts you’ve created in the past.
Choosing the Right Hashtags: The Four Qualities of an Effective Hashtag
To effectively use hashtags for social media engagement, you need to select the right ones. An effective hashtag typically possesses these qualities:
• Relevance: Ensure your hashtags are in line with the content you’re tagging. Using irrelevant hashtags can appear spammy and may lead your audience to avoid your brand.
• Diversity: Seek hashtags that are popular enough to attract a wide audience but not so overused that your content becomes lost. Diversifying your hashtags can help broaden your reach.
• Activity: Opt for hashtags that are not just popular but also active, meaning they continually attract new content. For example, #ChristmasDay2020 might have millions of posts, but it’s no longer relevant for current engagement.
• Reachability: Popular accounts often dominate good hashtags. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose hashtags with a popularity level similar to yours for better placement chances.
How to Effectively Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Platform
In the early days of social media, people often asked, “What is hashtagging?” At that time, hashtags were primarily a feature of X, formerly known as Twitter. Now, they are a widely used tool across various platforms. While the basic use of hashtags remains similar, there are nuances to using them effectively on different platforms.
Here are some tips for using hashtags to boost engagement on each network:
Using Hashtags on Facebook
- Insert hashtags anywhere in your Facebook caption.
- Organize topics inside a group using hashtags.
- Search for posts under specific hashtags using the Facebook search bar.
- To track a hashtag’s performance, use the URL facebook.com/hashtag/_____, inserting your chosen keyword.
Using Hashtags on Instagram
- Include hashtags in your bio and post captions.
- Add relevant hashtags to Instagram reels to enhance discoverability.
- Use hashtags in comments when interacting with followers.
- Add context to your Instagram Stories using hashtags.
- Find hashtags through the Tags Tab in the Explore section.
- Access performance data of hashtags via Instagram Insights.
Using TikTok Hashtags
- Include hashtags in the description of your TikTok content.
- View trending TikTok hashtags on the Discover page or use the search bar for specific topics.
- Mix niche and trending hashtags for optimal visibility.
Using Hashtags on Twitter or X
- Place hashtags anywhere within your tweet.
- The hashtag’s position can serve different purposes: at the beginning for emphasis, in the middle to highlight a keyword, or at the end to add context.
- Find trending Twitter hashtags on the right side of your feed.
- Search for tweets using a hashtagged keyword in the search bar.
- Be mindful of Twitter’s character limit when including hashtags.
Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing with Floodmaker
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To discover how we can elevate your business through social media, schedule a free consultation with us today.