Hashtags: What they are, why they matter, and how to use them.
Updated: May 17
What if I told you that hashtags were an essential building block of your social media strategy? They may seem useless but think of hashtags as an organic (unpaid) way for people to find your social media content. And learning how to use hashtags is essential for your social media strategy.
It’s like when you type search terms into Google, you get pages upon pages of results. Well, the same’s true for hashtags! When a user searches a social media platform, hashtags essentially group content around the topic they searched. And your ultimate goal is to be a part of those results!
So let’s dive into what hashtags are, why they matter, and why you should use them in your social media strategy.
What are hashtags?
According to Wix, a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), written within a post or comment to highlight it and facilitate a search for it. By including these hashtags, the social platform (and search engines, too) can index your post and show it to people outside your immediate network.
Why should you care?
Hashtags are more than a simple pound sign or hash mark. They can be a powerful tool for your social media strategy. As I noted above, hashtags are simply the Google search terms of social media and can be used to increase the reach of your content. Why is this essential for your social media strategy? Because it’s an organic (free) way to reach new people, increasing your audience and hopefully your sales too.
How do you create (and track) a hashtag strategy?
When crafting a strategy around hashtags, the key is to be intentional and consistent. Instead of haphazardly posting a collection of hashtags, pull from hashtag categories and develop groupings of hashtags to use on different posts.
For example, with Iron City Social, I can use a mix of location (#BirminghamAL), industry (#Marketing), niche (#BlackBusiness), brand (#IronCitySocial), and community (#WomenInBusiness). I could also use hashtags that were event or holiday specific.
The point here is to use a mix of hashtags that best fit your brand and keep SEO in mind while doing it. And make sure to never repeatedly use the same grouping of hashtags in the same order. This can signal spam to search engines. Instead, mix them up and add hashtags to a set group as appropriate.
When it comes to tracking your results, pay special attention to reach, engagement, and growth. Reach will tell you how the hashtags are working respective to each post, engagement will tell you if the content you’re sharing is working, and we always want to pay special attention to the growth rate.