Hashtags in social media posts serve a few different purposes. They can be funny. They can categorize your content. Or they can extend your reach to a new, larger audience. Knowing your goals can help you select the right mix of hashtags for your social media posts.
Sorry to break it to you, but expert use of hashtags requires some research up front. I like to use a free tool called Ritetag. It will give you some stats on the frequency of use as well as some related tags to consider. Once you find some relevant tags with high volume, take the time to search them on your favorite social media platforms. The last thing you want to do is unwittingly contribute to something unsavory! You never know when a hashtag has a hidden meaning.
Four Categories of Hashtags
I generally divide hashtags into four categories with different objectives.
- Branding – It’s great to use your brand name, product name, or something unique to your organization. You may not get a lot of new traffic from it, but it’s a nice addition to posts and can be a fun categorization to review for your users.
- Engagement – Keywords that speak to your message, vision, or calls to action may not drive a LOT of traffic, but the traffic they do drive will be highly engaged and interested in your message.
- Reach – These are the keywords that have tons of posts. With the right message, imagery, and timing, you could gain yourself a much larger audience than without.
- Event – If you are attending an event, check first to see if they’ve proposed a hashtag for attendees to use. Similarly if you are the host, let your guests know there’s a hashtag to use.
Choose a couple keywords from each category to get the best mix of eyeballs on your social post. Don’t go overboard though. Nobody likes to see a list of hashtags longer than the post content. Strategic alignment on hashtag strategy will elevate your social media presence to the next level.