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For any company, having a digital presence is key. To get the most out of your digital platforms, you need to implement SEO practices. One form of SEO, which is often forgotten, is hashtags. They are the keywords of social media. They are a great way to optimize your social media to reach the right audience and grow your brand. But how do you do hashtag research? Read on to find out!

Hashtag Research

This blog will give you all the information you need to create a hashtag strategy. It will cover: 

  • What hashtags are and why they matter
  • What types of hashtags to use 
  • How to do hashtag research
  • How to implement hashtags

Let’s get into it!

What Are Hashtags and why Should I Care About Them?

Simply put, hashtags are keyword phrases spelled without spaces and marked by a pound sign (#) in front of it.  Hashtags are essentially keywords used to categorize posts. They are an excellent way to:

 Hashtags help you reach your target audience.  More importantly, they help your target audience find you. For example, if you add the hashtag  #digitalmarketing to a post, people can search for that hashtag, and your post will come up. These users are more likely to engage with your post because it’s precisely what they were searching for, leading to better brand recognition and user interactions.

Hashtags that spread quickly have a wide variety of people using them and turning them into trends. This means that the keyword is popular and that many users make it a part of their conversation on social media. This does not mean every hashtag you use must become a trend. It all depends on the reason why you are using your hashtag.

Hashtags are an effective way to get more visibility and engagement on social media. A post with at least one hashtag can bring more viewers and engagement while also attracting people looking for you and the kind of content you share. Creating a hashtag strategy for your brand is worth it if you want your account to grow, gain recognition, and bring in people interested in what you have to say.

What Types of Hashtags Should I Use? 

There are a few different types of hashtags. 

Niche Hashtags: These hashtags refer to specific keywords that interest a small population, such as #digitalmarketing and #marketingtips. 

Community Hashtags: Refer to those that tap into a community. Those who follow community hashtags want to get information or content related to that community. It could be the #colibridigitalmarketing community, the #LGBT community, etc.

Audience Descriptive Hashtags: These hashtags focus on characteristics that define your audience and their interests—for example, #marketer, #fitgirls, #influencer.   

Product Descriptive Hashtags: Talk about specific products or services companies offer,  such as #website, #seo, #branding, and #contentmarketing.

Location Hashtags: Focus on a location you want to reach, your own location, or places of interest in a specific place—for example, #sanfrancisco, #sf, #bayarea.

Event Hashtags: Refer to hashtags created for events that give more information about an event. It could be branded hashtags for your own events or a type of event. Examples include: #networkingevent, #marketingevent, #artexhibit.

Using multiple types of hashtags will help you reach more people. If you only use hashtags with many posts, such as #digitalmarketing,  it will be harder to reach people. Mixing in smaller hashtags, such as event hashtags or audience hashtags, will help you reach people easily. For each post, finding a unique hashtag that matches the post’s theme is best. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Screenshot: Colibri Digital Marketing Instagram post

How Do I Do Hashtag Research?

There are a few different steps to tackle hashtag research. The most important thing to remember is that you need to track your work as you go. Colibri recommends making a spreadsheet with space to record each hashtag and its popularity. At Colibri, we like to post different categories of posts on different days. For example, we post a #FunFriday post on Friday. If you have different categories of posts, make sure to research hashtags to use for each category. 

Step 1. Follow trending niche hashtags (like #digitalmarketing).

This will help you see posts that are trending. You must look up the hashtag and click “Follow” to get ideas for trending topics. This can help you create new posts on relevant subjects for your business. 

  1. Look at other accounts similar to yours and see what hashtags they use to get inspired.
  2. Search your keywords on every social media platform. Check how many posts have been shared to define relevance.

Step 2. Google it.

You can find great hashtags by Googling “top used hashtags” for your specific topic or even holidays. Posting something that your regular hashtags do not apply to is a great way to develop ideas. Here’s what to do:

  1. Google your keywords and find the top-used hashtags in your topic.
  2. Filter and choose the most appropriate hashtags for your topic (consider the number of posts each has).

Step 3. Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool.

Or any other keyword research software. Hashtags are social media keywords. They help you rank the same way that keywords do with SEO. You can also cross-reference with other hashtag tools (below) to see if they could be appropriate hashtags for your social media.

  1. Go to Keyword Planner: https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
  2. Start looking for your keywords and search how they perform on each social media platform.

Step 4. Use Hashtag & Monitoring Platforms.

This will help you identify the hashtags used for each platform. Some tools suggest hashtags based on keywords that tell you how popular the hashtags are and how they perform. Other platforms track the performance of hashtags on your accounts. 

  1. Use any of the different platforms available to find hashtags: Hashtagify, IQ Hashtags, Keyhole, All-Hashtag, SeekMetrics.
  2. Select hashtags that are important for your business and posts.

Below are some of the best hashtag monitoring tools. 

  • Hashtagify. Check trending hashtags + Twitter (most features are paid)
  • IQ Hashtags. Instagram tracks volume, avg. likes, and comments. 
  • Keyhole. Monitor hashtags and brands on Twitter, Instagram, and blogs.
  • All-Hashtag. Check top, trending, and random hashtags based on keywords. 
  • SeekMetrics. Generates Twitter and Instagram hashtags based on keywords. 

Top Hashtag Tips

  1. Don’t copy/paste the same hashtags in every post.
  2. Avoid hashtags unrelated to your topic, like #like4like and #goodday. Those hashtags do not reach your target audience.
  3. For LinkedIn, use four to seven hashtags. For Facebook, two are enough. For Twitter, around three is best. Finally, for Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags. Ensure all hashtags are relevant and related to your topic or brand.
  4. Add hashtags in the first comment on Instagram. This will keep the caption looking clean.
  5. For Instagram, include your hashtags in the comments instead of the caption.
  6. If there’s a particular post (special events, holidays, news), do more keyword research to find hashtags related to the holiday or special event. 
  7. Review how hashtags work on your social media. Check engagement and see which hashtags are most beneficial for your strategy.

Takeaways

Creating a hashtag strategy takes three steps. First, create your spreadsheet to document your research. Second, conduct research using the different platforms outlined above. Third, implement hashtags, review results, and update your research based on your results. Hashtags are keywords for social media, so it is essential to find good keywords and use them to grow your brand.  

Looking to do more for your social media? Contact Colibri Digital Marketing for a 30-minute complimentary strategy session to learn more about social media management and all things #digitalmarketing. Click the button below to get started!