Bootstrap Digital Marketing Podcast, Episode 5 [Video]
Today we’re going to talk about hashtags. What are they? And how you can use them in your marketing efforts.
In the first part, I explain what a hashtag is for people who are new to social media marketing. And then, there are some tips that I give on how to use hashtags in your content marketing that you might find helpful.
Watch or listen below or read the edited transcribed notes.
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What is a Hashtag?
The simple explanation is a hashtag is a word or a group of words preceded by a hashtag or the pound symbol. Hashtags help you group topics on your social media channels.
Twitter was one of the first platforms that used hashtags widely. So if I go to the homepage of my Twitter feed and scroll down, there are all kinds of content related to all sorts of topics depending on who I follow and how I set up my channel. I’ve got content marketing, social media marketing, technology, and all kinds of stuff. And that’s great if I don’t mind scrolling down my feed to read all this stuff and filter through it.
But if I want to focus on just one particular topic, what I want to do is or what I will do is go to my explore tab on Twitter and type in #contentmarketing. Now I’ll see articles and posts related to content marketing.
So that’s one of the first ways that you want to use your hashtags is to group your content by topic so that you don’t have to scroll through your feed if you’re looking for something particular.
Research Your Target Audience with Hashtags
Another way to use hashtags is to research your target audience. Using hashtags in your searches can help you determine whether people are on a particular platform.
For example, if I’m on Twitter and my business is dog grooming, I want to know if my audience is on Twitter. So what I’ll do is I’ll type in the hashtag, and I’ve already researched this. Still, you’ll have to do a little research on hashtags and what people use on Twitter and all the other social media platforms because the platforms do vary as far as what people talk about and what hashtags they use.
But if I put that on Twitter, #Ilovedogs, I see many people who have that word or that keyword in their profile. Some of the top tweets are all about dogs. So from what I see right now, my target audience, people who love dogs and might need dog grooming services, is on Twitter. And those who don’t have #Ilovedog in their profile might have it in their profile description or their Tweets. So definitely, if I’m a dog groomer, my target audience is on Twitter.
I can use the same method on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. You can find what people are talking about and see people’s interests by using the hashtag search. So that’s for target audience research.
Curating Content with Hashtags
A fantastic way to use hashtags in your content marketing or digital marketing is for content curation. For example, when conducting your social media marketing campaigns, you want to make sure you don’t just share content from your brand or blog. Instead, you also want to share content from thought leaders in your industry, other high-profile websites, or blog articles that would be useful and interesting to your audience.
One way to find this content is by using hashtag searches on Twitter and other social media channels. For example, suppose I use the hashtag #contentmarketing to find content to share on my channels. In that case, I will look on Twitter or one of my other channels like Linkedin or YouTube. For example, suppose I want to find an excellent video to share. In that case, I’ll use #contentmarketing, and I’ll look through my feed and see what the people or the brands I follow are posting. Then, I can scroll down, and there’s all this content, posts about content marketing.
Here’s one, 5 Tiny Content Tweaks for Big Conversions, and it has the hashtag #contentmarketing. So if this is not a competitor and is an industry leader, somebody who’s definitely not competition, and they’re well respected in the industry, it will be content that I want to share. So I can retweet this or go through to the link, save it for later, and share that blog post or article across all my channels.
So using hashtags on all your social media channels is a great way to find content to share with your followers.
Find Trending Topics
Another great way to use hashtags is to search for trending topics in your industry. It goes along with content curation, but the focus is on finding what’s trending in your industry. It’s essential to stay on top of that, and it helps with coming up with fresh blog ideas and social media posts.
For example, suppose I go to LinkedIn and type in the hashtag #emailmarketing. In that case, I can see that there are 505,760 followers of this hashtag. So I will follow that hashtag on my LinkedIn profile, and I know many people are interested in that topic. Many of them will be marketers like myself and other agencies. Still, some people want to learn about email marketing who will follow that hashtag.
But take note, when you share a post on social media, you must include the hashtag. For example, suppose I’m going to share a blog post about email marketing on LinkedIn and all my other channels. In that case, I want to make sure I put the hashtag #emailmarketing, so the people who are following that hashtag will see it the post their news feeds.
How Many Hashtags Should You Use?
And that brings me to best practices. How many hashtags should you use in your posts?
There are varying recommendations and best practices, but across the board, here is the roundup:
Twitter— it’s recommended only to use up to two hashtags because there’s a 280-character limit for your messaging on Twitter.
The recommended length or number of hashtags for LinkedIn is between three and five.
Note: make sure that any hashtags you put in your social media posts are relevant to the post’s topic or to the content you’re sharing. For example, if I publish a post with the hashtag #emailmarketing, but the content of my post has nothing to do with email marketing, people will unfollow me. They’re not going to look to me for any content because I’m not reliable.
So make sure when you use your hashtags, it is relevant to the content you are posting on your channels.
To continue with best practices for the number of hashtags to use: Youtube— you can use up to 15 hashtags.
Tip to Rank Higher in YouTube Searches
Here is a way to use hashtags on Youtube to rank your videos higher in feeds.
If I type in the hashtag #contentmarketing, we see 40,000 videos related to content marketing and 8.9K channels. But let’s find the videos that have ranked the highest. So I’m going to click on the first one that I see, and I’m going to see the first YouTube video I clicked on ranked the highest in the feed for that hashtag on YouTube. Why? Right at the top of his title, you can the hashtags #contentmarketingforbeginners #contentmarketing, #contentcreation. How he got those hashtags in there is that he edited his description.
When you upload your video to YouTube and put in your title, there’s an area where you put in your description. So before you write the video description, you want to put your hashtags right there at the beginning of the description. This will help your video rank higher on YouTube.
It doesn’t work that way with the other channels always. For example, you don’t want to put your hashtags first on Twitter. You want to put your content first and your link because of the most important thing you want people to pay attention to is your content and the link—same thing with LinkedIn, Facebook, and the other channels.
Back to Best Practices on Number of Hashtags to Use
Instagram—no more than three to five is the recommendation. You can use up to 11 hashtags on Instagram, but industry best practices say three to five. I know it’s hard to limit the number of hashtags to use. But if you want to be found for a particular topic and related topics to the subject you’re posting about, keep the hashtags to a minimum. Facebook— two to three; that’s the recommended best practice.
I Hope this information helps you with your marketing efforts. Please share this post, and if you have any questions, you can go to my podcast page, Anchor.fm/bootstrapdigitalmarketing, or sign up for my blog and get notifications when a new podcast episode is out.
If you have any questions, you can leave a question on my Anchor page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.