Do Hashtags really matter?
In a word, Yes!
Many people think hashtags are just useless and just something people do to try to be SUPER cool, but they are actually an enormously helpful tool to help introduce NEW people to you and your brand. Think of them as SEO optimization for your social media posts.
So now that you know you should be using them the next question is usually HOW do I use them...
Here are my #rules for IG and FB
Rules for both platforms:
These are actually GUIDELINES not RULES, so don't stress too much about following each and every one absolutely every time. This is just about testing and learning not being perfect. I point this out because I have SO many clients to me stressing about doing marketing perfectly. This is driven by so many 'marketing professionals' on social media giving advice as though there are universal truths. There aren't. There are best practices, and some of those will work for your business and in some cases you'll have to try some experimentation to figure out your special sauce.
Use a Scheduler This will save you loads of time, (what could be more annoying than typing out a super long post on your phone?) and allow you to batch prepare your posts for the week. You're much more likely to post regularly on social media if you can invest 2-3 hours one day vs. having to drop what you're doing and post 3 different times during the week. My preferred platform is Later because you can also post to IG stores, and it is very affordable (only about $15/month for the basic package and they have a free option for you to try it on for size). There is nothing more frustrating that typing out a super long post on your phone.
Get some help (especially as you start out) This can be via an online guru you love, an online course (Rachel Bell has a great one she often offers as her lead magnet for free about instagram stories but with lots of good hashtag info) or via working with a marketing professional such as myself. A word of caution here though. The field of marketing is sadly overflowing with 'experts' who will happily take your money and promise the moon. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Find a marketer with humility and who does not promise magical results, and who talks about optimizing the plan based on what is and is not working.
In this video I explain what to look for in
a marketer with integrity
INSTAGRAM # Tips
1) Don't use the same # for each post (IG will think you're a bot) but it is ok to have a couple staples that you re-use over and over #smallbusiness #ladybosses
2) Pick hashtags that have searches (over 10k is ideal) but are not overly crowded (1MM+ means your post will get pushed down QUICKLY in people's feed). Best strategy is to mix and match with some super popular hashtags and some that are less searched. Sometimes just added an s or an emoji is enough to find that sweet spot and useing the search bar in your scheduler for suggestions of related hashtags or in IG to see how many times each # has been used is a great way to find those sweet spot hashtags.
3) Get creative. They don't have to be literally about your post but instead could be something your core consumer might be searching for (ie for me I might use #marketingtips or #hashtagtips) Play around and have fun. Check out your competition or successful people in this space for inspiration (but not complete plagiarism- that's not cool)
4) Use about 10-20 per post. You can go as high as 30 (but that doesn't mean you have to....)
5) Hide the hashtags either at the bottom of the post (see this post on IG) or in the first comment
6) Branded hashtags can be fun but will likely not get you new followers unless it goes viral. It does allow you to search for a hashtag and pull up all posts you've done on the topic though, or to run a campaign where your followers are posting with that hashtag which can be a great way to build community so feel free to use them but understand their purpose.
1) Less is more so you should only use 1-3 hashtags- engagement actually goes down if you overdo it in FB
2) Again pick things that you feel your core consumer might be searching for, not necessarily just hashtags related to the topic you're posting about
3)Don't make them too generic #TBT is an example of a generic hashtag. Think of it like Kleenex, it was used so often that it became the universal name and the brand power lost its juice
And that is pretty much it.
It's not rocket science and with a few basic guidelines improving your hashtag game can score you tons of new followers and grow your audience especially on IG.
Is there anything I missed? Do you still have any outstanding questions? If so grab some time on MY CALENDAR to talk further about your marketing strategy and possibly working together!