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If you do any social media marketing, you likely know what a hashtag is. It’s an easy way to tag your status updates with certain words that are searchable by other users.

 

For example, when you share a recipe on Twitter, tagging it with “#food” “#dessert” or “#yum” can help boost its views by people specifically searching for these hashtags.

 

Twitter and Instagram lend themselves to the use of the hashtag most often. Pinterest actually discourages the use of hashtags on their platform, as they aren’t clickable and can be confusing to other pinners.

 

Though hashtags can be a valid part of your online marketing plan, it’s important that you are using the RIGHT hashtags for your content, products, and services. If you are just adding hashtags to appear cool, they aren’t going to be as effective!

 

Hashtags on Twitter

 

Twitter is where the whole world of hashtags got started in 2007. It was devised to give the average user a better way to find the information he was specifically looking for. With a hashtag, users can quickly find all the finance (#money), entrepreneur (#business), or coupons (#deals or #discounts) they want to see!

 

Let’s look at a few ways you can decide which Twitter hashtags are the best for your business.

 

Spy on the competition

 

Find out which hashtags leading influencers in your niche are using. Scroll through their recent tweets and see if you notice any repeated hashtags. Chances are, if they use them regularly, they are good hashtags to use in your own status updates.

 

Perhaps an easier way to find the most used hashtags by a given user is using a tool called Twitonomy. Give the tool the Twitter username and it will tell you the hashtags that user is adding to this status most often.

 

Discover the Trends

 

Just because an influencer is using a hashtag often doesn’t mean it’s one you should be using in your own marketing strategies. Plus, it could just be one that he decided to add to the majority of his tweet, without doing any research to determine if it’s useful or not.

 

Look for trends in your own niche to determine the best hashtags to use on Twitter. If it’s trending, that means lots of users are typing it into their status – not just the leaders. A useful tool called Hashtagify lets you find the most popular hashtags to use based on your industry.

 

Let Twitter Tell You

 

Ever noticed the Trends section on your Twitter homepage? These listings to tailored toward your location and the users you follow. Clicking any of the listings will show you the most popular and most recent updates containing the hashtag.

 

You can change the list at any time by clicking the “Change” link beside the heading and choosing a new location. This can be very helpful if you are targeting a certain city, state, or region.

 

Rocking Instagram with Hashtags

 

Instagram is another great platform for hashtags. With their unlimited character count for photo descriptions, you can add several hashtags to get your updates seen.

 

Don’t Just Go for Most Popular

 

For most Instagram users, the most used hashtags are too broad or general to make a long-term impact on your strategy. According to Webstagram, the most popular hashtags on Instagram (each having hundreds of millions of posts tagged with them) include:

 

  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #food
  • #pretty

 

While it may be a good idea to add these into your “tag cloud” for a post, you certainly need to dig deeper into hashtags. Search for those that offer more targeted engagement and help you build a community on Instagram.

 

These hashtags may have less posts associated with them, but by targeting your posts to those that will actually see, like, and comment on them, you are building your brand in a much more effective manner.

 

Research. Research. Research.

 

In order to find the best hashtags to use for your business, start by researching your audience. See what hashtags they are using. Your hashtags should be relevant to the content you are sharing – and what others are regularly searching for.

 

Researching your competition also works on Instagram, just as it does on Twitter. Follow the leaders in your niche, and pay attention to the hashtags they attach to their photo descriptions.

 

Finally, use the search function to find related, more targeted Instagram hashtags. If you will be posting about a chocolate dessert, type “#chocolate” into the search before posting to see any related hashtags that are popular and relevant.

 

Using the right hashtags is important if you want to grow your brand with them. There is more to it than simply flooding your tweets and pictures with random words and phrases. You need to be strategic and use hashtags that will benefit your business and help you grow a community!

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