20 Dec 2018 Strategies

Twitter Hashtags: A LikeMind Media Guide

Twitter application being opened on an iPhone

Using Twitter hashtags effectively can be a challenge. Do you feel like you are drowning in a sea of tweets, struggling to get your content seen? We are here to help, this is the LikeMind Media guide to using hashtags to best assist your social media presence and increase those retweets and get your content viral. 

Your hashtags may be getting a high number of impressions and likes, but does the audience you are hitting care about your content? The most likely answer here, I’m afraid to say, is probably not. 

My guess is you are being too broad. Your hashtags need to be tailored to you and your business, to find your niche market. This is so you can better understand your audience and give them the content that they want. 

So how do you get your content seen using hashtags? How do you use hashtags to best assist your social media growth and online presence? Hang tight, because I’m going to rock your hashtagging world. 

So, let’s start with the basics… 

What is the point of  Twitter hashtags? 

Originating from Twitter, the hashtag is used to categorise your content and make you easily accessible to a larger audience. (Woo, exactly what we want!). Nearly 40% of the 500 million tweets sent daily contain hashtags. That’s 200 million tweets a day with hashtags, more than one hashtagged tweet for everyone in Western Europe. A DAY.  

So just plugging away with the most popular Twitter hashtags is not going to work. You need Twitter users to engage with your content and they won’t. Simple as that. You are going to drown. For example, if you use the hashtag #followfriday, then yes, you are more than likely going to gain a few followers. But they are the wrong kind of follower. Nine times out of 10 they are not going to care about your content. They have just followed you for the follow back and that’s a #ShallowFollowing 

Why are hashtags so popular? 

If they are going to get you lost in a sea of tweets and gain you a shallow following, why are they still so popular? 

Hashtags represent subjects. Some subjects are always popular, such as #art and #photography which can be used to display your creative flair. #Selfie and #funny can be used to show your lust for life, and #HappyBirthday is always popular. But these hashtags are far too broad to get you seen. 

Using these broad hashtags will give you the reach that you desire. But, only using popular Twitter hashtags might result in your content not being heard by the right people. They are popular because they group together conversations and create exposure. They can show you the trending topics of conversation. For example, this year crypto-currencies have been a huge talking point. But they are a trend and will only be relevant for a short time. 

What are the disadvantages of popular hashtags? 

EVERYBODY is using them, so if you use the exact same hashtags too then you are going to drown, but you will more than likely get a lot of impressions. #NotImpressive

You aren’t finding your niche market. You need to be more specific to find those who care. It is harder to stay relevant with popular hashtags. #FollowFriday is a good way to gain quick followers, but they will probably unfollow soon after if you don’t #FollowBack 

You are not finding your own voice. You are “Baaaaaaaaa’ing” along with all the other sheep. Popular does not always mean better.  

Hashtags have the potential to increase your impressions and help your content turn up on newsfeeds or timelines outside your usual reach. So, of course, they are popular. They create a sense of inclusion; a community is created through the hashtag. But how do you get your voice heard?  

How do you get through the noise? 

Using Twitter Hashtags to get through the noise

Simple, you have two options. 

1) The spaghetti method. 

You throw out a load of content and hope that somewhere, something will stick. 

2) Targeted content marketing 

  • You find out who you specifically want to target 
  • Brainstorm ideas for your content now that you know who you want to speak to 
  • You choose where to publish your content, where is your audience? 
  • You decide how you are going to promote and push your content to the relevant people 

Right, now that you know how to target, let’s run through some dos and don’ts of hash-tagging. 

 

DO 

  • Be specific. Use your hashtags to specify who you want to reach. For example, if you are a sports photographer, don’t just hashtag #photography, you will go unheard. Go with #sportsphotography or #sportsphoto.  
  • Cater to the social media platform that you are publishing on. Photo and video-sharing hashtags usually describe what is happening in the media. Whereas on Twitter it tends to sum up the topic of conversation or group of people you are speaking to 
  • Research your target audience (it will pay off in the long run) 
  • Come up with unbranded hashtags. Don’t use your brand name in the hashtag, they can already see who is publishing the content. It’s a waste of characters. More importantly, it’s a waste of the readers’ time, they will lose interest 
  • However, branded hashtags can be useful, but still, don’t use your brand name. Create a tagline, something you are known for, like Nike and #JustDoIt. These can be great for content campaigns. They drive participation, like the Walkers crisps campaign #DoUsAFlavour. You get ideas from your audience and amazing levels of engagement and raises awareness of both the issue and the brand 

 

DON’T 

  • Make your hashtags too long or too clever. Keep it short and sweet. You want people to naturally search for the hashtag. Hashtags are designed to make finding and engaging with content easier, long hashtags won’t do that. They will, if anything, make it harder 
  • Don’t have more hashtags than words. Like, don’t even come close. Excessive hashtagging is often ironic and used in jest. The maximum on Instagram is 30 hashtags, and people have realised that means more reach. The more reach means the more likes, but you don’t want to use 30. You don’t even really want to use five, even if you gain followers, they won’t care about your content.  Excessive hashtagging generally weakens your message and comes off as desperate 
  • Don’t hashtag everything. Yes, it makes content discoverable. If you feel your content would add nothing to the conversation but is still worth tweeting, then just leave out the hashtag 

 

How should I use my hashtags? 

So, for the best results, try the following: 

  1. Use the popular hashtags to increase the reach of your posts. But do not stop there, use specific hashtags to target your audience.  
  2. Targeting your audience will improve the perception of your brand. You are telling the audience that you ‘get it’ with your content. Stop trying to please everyone all the time. Be specific. 
  3. Improve their trust in your brand and the results will fall into place. You want to be the brand that is there to solve their problems and find the answers. 
  4. Target, target, target. Not only will you be creating content that gets past the existing wall, but you are finding ways to promote and distribute to the relevant people. Plus, it will reduce the time you need to create your content. 

And if that isn’t enough, here are a few websites to help you along the way: 

  • Twitonomy – Allows you to check out what hashtags influencers in your field are using 
  • GetHashTags – Get hashtags to suit your content category 
  • Hashtagify – Helps to find the perfect hashtags

And of course, you don’t even have to do any of that if you don’t want to, we can do it for you! 

 

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