Hashtags: A Beginner’s Guide
You’ve no doubt heard of hashtags.
“It’s that pound sign people use on Twitter right” you say.
You may have even referenced them in conversation, either in person, text, or just jokingly (I know I have).
But…you really have no clue on how to use them to build an audience.
Today we’re going to change that.
You will learn
- What hashtags are
- Which social media platforms use them
- How to use them effectively
I’ll also point you at some amazing tools that will help you figure out which ones to use.
Oh, and I’ll just give you some to get started with because I just like you so much 😉
What the heck is a hashtag?
Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages around a specific topic or category of interest.
Don’t use spaces or punctuation
In Layman’s terms:
Word/phrase = a searchable link.
If someone is looking for something about the Nutribullet on Twitter and you have a video on YouTube
showing people how to use it to make smoothies, they might find you when looking for something relevant like #Smoothies or #Nutrition.
Hashtags are now used on every major social network (minus Linkedin
, but there’s something similar). As you might have guessed, we’ll start with…
Hashtags and retweets (Some interesting numbers)
Here’s some data you need to know:
- 25% of tweets without hashtags are retweeted
- 40% of tweets with hashtags are retweeted
- Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement than those without them
How many hashtags should I use?
According to Twitter, 1-2 hashtags is ideal and anything above this will either start to annoy people or lead to irrelevant hashtags.
One study claims:
- Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags have 21% more engagement than those with 3 or more.
- Engagement drops 17% when you have more than 2.
However, a different study by Track Maven revealed that on average 3-7 hashtags is where you’ll get the most retweets.
So…which do you think is right?
I’m leaning towards Track Maven’s results, but see what works for you.
The important thing to take away from this is that you should absolutely use hashtags when tweeting because you’re better off with at least 1 or 2.
Furthermore, you should experiment with a few (1-2) and multiple (3-7) hashtags, but make sure to track your results to see what works because everyone’s audience is different!
There is a possibility that your account could either get suspended or banned if you start over-hashtagging.
If you use 3 or more of them you better make sure they are very relevant!
Riding the trend waves
Before I get started here… why don’t I just give you 7 trending topics you can use right away?
Here you go (one for every day of the week):
Use them if you can, but make sure they’re relevant to whatever content you’re adding them to.
- #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT
- #FollowFriday or #FF
- #SexySaturday (#Caturday works well too)
Where were we?
Oh yeah, riding the trend waves that’s right!
Hashtags that start getting used very frequently begin to what they call “trend”.
For instance, according to Hashtag.org
, #HondaCivicTour is on the rise (currently at around 12,100 retweets and counting today 8/10/15).UPDATE:
(I finished this on 8/11/15) because it’s a huge music tour hosted by Honda where they released a YouTube video showing a time-lapse of them making a custom civic with artwork that matches the tour’s.
I think One Direction is the headliner.
Now I’d say that this hashtag is trending don’t you think?
Use relevant trending hashtags when you can.
Another reason this is a great resource because it allows you to see a graph that’s tracking a specific hashtag for the past 24 hours AND some information on some of the more popular users using them.
Now you will only see what Hashtag.org
allows free members to see (which isn’t a whole lot) so upgrading might be an option for you.
If not, don’t worry you can use Twitonomy
to find out an influential tweeter’s top 10:
- Tweets users most retweeted (and what they retweeted)
- Most replied to tweets
- Users most mentioned
- Days & hours most retweeted
- What platforms were used
- Tweets most favorited
You can see some average tweet analytics, tweets, followers, who they’re following, people who favorite their tweet, lists they’re being followed on and ones they’re following.
Pretty neat huh?
Now if you want to download and print this stuff (and get access to more than just top ten this and that) you have to upgrade, but the top 10 list is a good start.
How to avoid a huge mistake people make on Twitter
If you start a tweet with the @ sign only the people that follow you and whoever you mention will see the tweet.
In other words, not all of your followers will see it, which may come in handy sometime if that’s what you want.
“@Yankees suck and they know it.”
(Only people that follow both you and the Yankees will see this).
However, if you want everyone to be able to see what you tweeted…
DON’T start the sentence with the @ symbol, add something like “The” or you could even put a period in front of it (but using “The” looks way more natural).
“The @Yankees suck and they know it.”
Or… “[email protected]
suck and they know it.” (looks a little awkward, but it works)
While you can piggyback off of other influential people’s hashtags, do not forget that to look for industry keywords if you’re using them for business.
(not hashtagifyme.com, I got this wrong at first lol) will show you the top 10 hashtags for a certain keyword.
Getting more targeted
Perhaps you want a hashtag that is a lot more niched down than something like #Facebook or something else very broad.
This tool will help you get relevant, more specific keywords by just entering a broad hashtag.
Additionally, you can even see what others are saying about any of the keywords pulled up by clicking on them.
Boom. Simple stuff.
Basically this is a discussion group with similar interests that have scheduled “meetings” on Twitter.
This is a great way to find people that are in your same niche!
If you’re using Twitter for Internet marketing here’s an ultimate list
of tweet chats you will love.
You’ll see the name of the twitter chat room, when the discussions are taking place, who’s moderating (this person usually has some questions lined up for everyone), where to find the recap, and of course what recent topics they’re discussing.
Simply go to Tweetchat
and get started, easy right? (You can even start your own)
The other social networks using hashtags
To find out about hot topics on other social networks (besides Twitter) you can use Tagboard
This site will find and combine discussions from Instagram
, etc. and organize them by their hashtag.
Create your own board if you’re brave and have come up with your own hashtag.
is pretty much the polar opposite of Twitter
because when it comes to hashtags, the more the merrier…and you can use up to 30.
Here are 5 of the more popular hashtags according to Zarella:
This site’s popularity is rising, so don’t overlook it.
Hashtags are not as popular on Facebook.
Clicking on a hashtag will bring up relative content, but you can’t search for hashtags.
Somewhat like Twitter (the Track Maven study had different results), over-hashtagging is just not as engaging.
According to a study of over 200,000 brand posts, here are some of the numbers:
- 1-2 #: 593 interactions per post
- 3-5 #: 416 interactions per post
- 6-10#: 307 interactions per post
- 10# and more: 188 interactions per post
Yes, it’s still relevant.
The cool thing is they’re pretty easy to find in Google search.
you want to put your hashtags on the bottom of you post (just nice netiquette) and limit them from 2-4.
you really just want to:
- Put your hashtags in the description box because they’re only clickable there.
- Keep them at 2-3
is in the same boat as Instagram
- Use as many as you can (up to 30).
- Stack them up in the “tags”field
they’ve done away with hashtags, but you can use up to 3 keywords to “tag” Pulse posts.
Simple tips to follow when using hashtags:
- Have a clear call to action
- Make them RELEVANT
- You can use a hashtag in Spanish as long as it’s relevant.
- Make them unique
- Use them to check on the competition
- Keep them short and sweet
- Stay away from generic hashtags
- Capitalize multi-word hashtags
- Do NOT use slang
- Be wary of double meaning
- Don’t get abstract
- Make sure and proofread them
- Pay close attention to your fans for new ideas
- Check if your hashtag is being used for something else completely different
- Use branded and NON-branded hashtags
- Track what works and scale it up
- Make sure that you don’t spell something else entirely when capitalization is removed.
- Test small and THEN go big when you get good results
- Have a back up hashtag
- Don’t forget about billboards, TV, experiment with them in unlikely advertising.
- Incorporate your hashtag into live tweets on major events
- Keep an eye on your trade with them
Hashtags are an awesome way to get your content seen.
Use them to build an audience and experiment, but make sure and track your results.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little hashtag lecture lol (it won’t be long before they’re in colleges if they isn’t already…they really should be) feel free to follow me and get updates on new blog posts from me.
(Grab a freebie while you’re there)
Let me know if I missed something on hashtags kiddos.
I’ll depart with an inspirational quote I love:
“If you learn late, you pass it on to people so they learn early. It’s a step process.” ~ Russell Simmons
Love that guy.
Have a great day everyone.