Tripping along to find good hashtags to use for your content marketing purposes is frustrating and exhausting. How do you know which ones are good? Which ones are weak? Which ones are ‘hot’?
Or, and this is the most important one, which hashtags are banned?
On Instagram, shadowbanning is real. The last thing you want to do is continue to use banned terms because the use of hashtags on the platform is necessary for reach, engagement, and growth.
So, how do you know which hashtags are worth using?
Have I got a tool for you!
Why Hashtags Still Matter on Social Media
You may be wondering why you should care about hashtags on any platform but Instagram. Because we’re trained to associate and use hashtags on social media.
It’s like when someone thinks of jelly, most associate it with peanut butter. Hashtags are at the top of our minds and so we will always use them on social media platforms regardless of whether they’ve caught up to that or not.
Are there any hashtag rules to consider on the major platforms? Some.
You can use up to 30 Instagram hashtags per post according to the rules. Having said this, I’ve seen posts with 45, 70, even over 100 hashtags that had some engagement. They stuffed the caption and a couple of comment spaces.
If you wish to tempt fate and spam go ahead. Your posts probably won’t be seen by anyone else other than your followers (if you’re not reported and slapped first).
Hashtags are how we get seen on Instagram. Abusing them defeats the purpose
I’ve heard Twitter described as a cesspool. To an extent, that’s true but it’s still a great source of traffic. Hashtags are searchable on Google and tweets are public. If you work it, stick to relevant hashtags (quantity will vary), and regularly share and retweet, over time, you’ll get some traffic to your content.
Facebook was late to the hashtag party, and that’s fine. But the savvy marketers on Facebook know that their fans and followers use hashtags.
Pinterest is a visual search engine. It’s more than just chocolate cake recipes. With hashtags and the right picture, anyone can get traffic to their sites, whether it’s a store or a blog.
No matter where you are on the social landscape, hashtags are still relevant.
So, how do we find some good ones?
Finding Good Hashtags For Social Media
I was reading a post a while back and found out about this tool called RiteTag. I couldn’t believe that I’d found what I’d been looking for all this time.
Fantasies about all the time it would save me danced through my head, but I had to be sure. When I checked them out, I grinned wider than Cheshire Cat.
Then I researched and culled.
I’d been working through Instagram hashtags research using an app I’d been hearing about for a while. The posts were more of an exploration, an experiment that showed interesting information about certain Instagram profiles and growth. But nothing in those posts that said, “use this hashtag to get seen.”
When I did my wrap up post for that “series,” I added some research that did just that. Let me show you what I mean.
RiteTag is useful for hashtags on all the major social media platforms but it defaults to Twitter. This makes sense, when you think about it because Twitter isn’t so much a social media platform as a social broadcasting platform.
You can broadcast on Twitter via Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms. Instagram is different because it’s a smart device app primarily. It’s also singular, meaning, it’s not easy for other apps to get access to stats.
I’ll also mention that I used this app for a few posts on Facebook and the tags were similar. It’s just that the stats were different. This also makes sense because people have been cross-posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the same hashtags for a while.
The way the tool is set up, you get hashtag suggestions from inputting terms or from a picture. It has a legend to show you what the symbols mean and which hashtags exist only on Instagram, for example. I’ll show you more on this in a minute, but for now, let’s take a look at the stats for this travel hashtag
I had a bunch of hashtags from my research and used them to find out which were what. Now the terms with blue hourglass are long life terms. Those will help you to be found over time.
The ones with grey thumbs down are hashtags that are weak and shouldn’t be used. The ones with green lightning are HOT at the moment and gives you a better chance of visibility.
Here, we see #travel and #sunset are hot terms to use. When we select all and click Compare, we get a deeper analysis of the terms.
How to Research & Compare Hashtags For Effective Use
Here’s the breakdown of term. Look for high Hashtag Exposure and Retweets because those are wins for you. Unique tweets shows you how many posts you’re competing with for attention every hour.
For the long life terms, #wanderlust is a strong one for exposure but only gets 12 retweets per hour versus #tourism which is about a third of the exposure and almost double the retweets.
For the hot terms, specifically #travel, exposure is over 5 million and retweets are almost 600 with 675 unique tweets. This looks good but think about it for a minute. The number of unique tweets exceeds the number of retweets.
That’s not even a 1:1.
When you look at it this way, you get the feeling that this term isn’t so great. To get a better understanding, you need to drill deeper.
We click on the term and take a look at its stats before passing judgement.
These are the stats we saw on the previous page. When we scroll down we see more information.
For the last 30-days there have been some significant spikes. Here you see that on April 30, over 886,000 exposure from 21,500 unique tweets and 16,800 retweets.
Again, that’s less than 1:1
When we look at day of the week, it’s still not impressive but it’s the time of the day that shows promise. At 7pm (you can change the timezone to be more appropriate to yours), it’s almost 2:1 with 600 unique tweets and 1100 retweets. Not bad.
This gives you a good idea of when to plan your posts for this hashtag to improve your retweet and exposure chances.
This is where you’ll see who is posting #travel tweets, from where, and in what language. If you scroll down you’ll be able to see links to the tweets, which will help you gauge the “spam” factor of the hashtag.
This part of your research gives you a look at your “competition” and may give you some content ideas that you can use not only on Twitter. Remember, this hashtag is viable on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, too.
This is another great feature of this analysis. The spherical tree gives you an idea of which hashtags are used with #travel and their usefulness.
Whenever you’re creating your next post or tweet, you can sprinkle a couple of these hashtags to help your visibility.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, the RiteTag tool can show you which terms are only for Instagram. You can download and configure the Android/iOS app on your device to get instant advice on hashtags to use.
But since I’m on the site, I used the search field at the top and what I found was interesting:
You have some great suggestions for companion hashtags only for instagram as well as a clue on what’s banned.
I had no idea that #easter was banned on Instagram!
While these terms are great, you’ll want to research them on Instagram to make sure they’re strong enough to use, since you can’t get the numbers for them in this tool (again, Instagram is a ‘special’ platform)
One Other Discovery…
As an independent author, I’m always looking for good hashtags to use to get my books discovered. I’m also looking for what not to use. There isn’t a comprehensive list of banned terms floating around out there (yet).
I tested the term ‘indieauthor’ and found some good tags to research for future posts. Plus, I got a clue I’d been hoping for:
Lucky thing I dumped that tag a long time ago, isn’t it?
When Using Hashtags Remember:
Research, Don’t Jump!
Hashtags are personal expressions that have become powerful marketing tools. They can make your content more visible or make you wish you were invisible.
One cautionary tale is DiGiorno. Back in 2014, before they became Twitter darlings, they made a serious error in judgment:
#WhyIStayed was a hashtag for domestic violence. Not fun when you have to backtrack with a million apologies that aren’t enough to cover you.
Be Relevant & Think Long Term
Everybody wants visibility and engagement. This is a major point in content marketing. A tool that gives you the inside track of what’s hot may lead you to believe that you’re in. You just need to load up on some hot terms and run with it.
Nothing’s ever that easy. Research and relevance matter these days more than ever. Your content, even if it’s just a tweet, needs to speak to your intention. Use the hot tags but know that trends change. Think longer term and plan for it in your social posting content.
Listen To Social Media Conversations
Part of the way to get in on your audience on social media is to listen to the conversations. Hashtags help you do that. Once you’re familiar with the conversation people are having around a certain topic you’re interested in, it’s easier to jump in without looking like an intruder.
On another note, you may even discover potential topics that you can address to get more of the right attention from your audience and build up your authority.
Monitor Your Social Reputation
They call it #cockygate. An author trademarked her Cocky book series. That’s fine. But she then contacted other authors with the term ‘Cocky’ in their book titles and told them to change their titles or she would pursue legal action.
As a result, indie authors everywhere took her on and the #ByeFaleena hashtag was born. Her reputation across the indie author community is struggling and the struggle is getting more real with each clap back.
Your Brand-Specific Tags MATTER too
It’s great to have these hot and evergreen terms for longevity. But what about your own brand hashtags?
Branded tags are a way to claim your small piece of the social media landscape by giving your audience a flag to look for. Call it a notch in your earned authority belt.
Needless to say, I’m glad to have this new tool in my content marketing arsenal. If you want to find your own ‘hot’ social media hashtags? Check Out RiteTag They hooked me with that sinister ‘no credit card required’ free trial.