If you actively use platforms like Instagram or Twitter, then chances are that you must already be aware of hashtags. In fact, one can’t imagine these social media platforms without the presence of hashtags.
Gone are the days when individuals used to include hashtags in their updates just for the sake of it. These days, hashtags are actively used to refine a search or even run a whole marketing campaign.
In this post, I will make you familiar with the evolution of hashtags and how you can use hashtag tracking to promote your online business. Nevertheless, before we proceed, it is important to know the history of hashtags.
This might sound strange, but the first hashtag was used way back in 1988 on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Though, it was in 2009, when Twitter officially adopted the hashtag symbol (#) and connected it with the concept of trending topics and popular hashtags.
From then on, there was no looking back.
Even though hashtags have been around for almost a decade, people still make plenty of mistakes while using them. You should always be aware of the basic do’s and don’ts of using hashtags on social media. Pay attention to the following points while using hashtags on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more.
- Don’t overdo it. The number of hashtags included in your update ideally depends on every platform. For instance, try not to use more than 3-4 hashtags on Twitter. The number can be increased to 5-6 for Instagram.
- Try to incorporate keywords in hashtags (or simply use a keyword as your hashtag). This will increase the overall visibility of your hashtag.
- Experiment with inline hashtags a little.
- Treat every platform individually. The kind of hashtags that might gain a lot of traction on Instagram might not produce the same kind of results on Twitter.
- Always double check your hashtags before posting. They should have a clear and precise meaning. If you think it sounds confusing, then you can write it in title case or simply trim it.
- Don’t combine more than 3-4 words in a single hashtag. It will be too confusing for your audience to understand.
- Make sure there are no spelling mistakes.
- Ideally, your hashtag should be simple, easy to spell, and precise. Additionally, it should not sound offensive or demeaning at all.
- If you want to use your hashtag for marketing, then try to come up with an original and relevant hashtag. Don’t try to make it too obvious by including your brand name or even a competitor’s name. In a nutshell, make it more conversational.
- After coming up with a relevant hashtag, encourage your audience to use it. Drive a contest or run a Twitter chat around it to boost its visibility.
- Most importantly, don’t hashtag everything. There is no reason to hashtag words like #it #was and so on. Only hashtag selective words if you want your audience to take you seriously.
Bonus video: Twitter Hashtag Tutorial
Hashtag Tracking: what’s in it for me?
Now when you know how to use hashtags effectively on social media, you can easily come up with a hashtag marketing campaign as well. As stated, hashtags can be used in different ways on social media. Though, whenever you run a hashtag campaign, you are supposed to measure its reach in a timely manner. This is what makes hashtag tracking so important.
After performing hashtag tracking, you can easily measure the overall reach of your hashtag on a social media platform like Twitter. It lets you know how your hashtag is getting perceived by your audience in a real-time manner. There are different uses of hashtag tracking. An ideal social media listening tool can help you track hashtags related to an event, a marketing campaign, Twitter chat, and more.
When it comes to social media, you can’t run blind. There are plenty of ways to obtain in-depth statistics related to the reach of your campaigns, advertisements, and more. After performing hashtag tracking, not only will you get apt figures regarding the reach or impression of your hashtag, but you can also obtain sentiment analysis and perform various other operations.
A hashtag tracker provides information related to the geographic and the timely breakdown of your hashtag, the way it is getting used by your audience, and plenty of others useful details. All of this makes hashtag tracking an essential tool for every social media marketer.
How to use hashtag tracking in an effective manner?
When it comes to the usage of hashtags, the sky is the limit. For years, marketers have been using hashtags in numerous ways. No matter how small or big your company is, you can definitely run a hashtag campaign on a platform like Twitter and use it to create brand awareness, generate leads, and more. I have handpicked five different ways how hashtag tracking can help you in digital marketing. Feel free to implement these suggestions while working on your next social media marketing plan.
Tracking real-time conversations and tweetchats
The way people interact with brands has been drastically changed in the last few years. If you want to win over millennials on social media, then you got to walk an extra mile. Social media is all about being quick, smart, and witty. With the help of social listening, you can develop a long-term and engaging relationship with your audience.
By performing hashtag tracking, you can get to know what your audience is talking about your brand on a real-time basis. Without investing a lot of time, you can get back to them instantaneously. It can help you not only to give your audience a dedicated customer support, but also to avoid an unforeseen crisis.
Additionally, in order to expand the reach of their hashtags, plenty of brands host tweetchats. If you truly wish to make the most out of a Twitter chat, then you should definitely perform an extensive hashtag tracking. A lot of times, people tend to misspell words or forget to mention a brand’s handle. With the help of a social listening tool, you will never miss out of a conversation.
Chances are that you must already be aware of popular Twitter chats like #bufferchat, #hootchat, etc. Hootsuite keeps organizing their dedicated chat with the hashtag #HootChat. By tracking their hashtag, they can easily make the most out of it.
Track contests and giveaways
If you want to gain more followers on social media and get an instant boost to your online presence, then there is nothing more effective than running a contest. After all, who doesn’t love contests, right?
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible for brands to run frequent contests every now and then without much trouble. Nevertheless, whenever you run a contest, don’t take things for granted. You should know the overall reach of your content and how your audience is reacting to it. With hashtag tracking, you can meet your requirements easily.
You must have already noticed that in order to participate in certain contests on Twitter, you need to include a respective hashtag in your tweets. If you are a brand manager and would like to run an interactive contest on Twitter, then it can get quite tough for you to quantify all the entries. You might end up missing a few of them as well.
Nevertheless, by taking the assistance of a social listening tool, you can easily track your hashtag and get to know about its overall reach as well. For instance, in this case, if the brand would like to get more details regarding their contest, all they got to do is track their hashtag (#GreatIndiaDrive).
— evo India (@evoIndia) March 26, 2017
Track the reach of your paid content
No matter how powerful your content is – if it can’t reach out to its target audience, then it would be quite futile in the long run. These days, almost every major brand follows the practice of running a few paid campaigns in between to propagate the reach of their content.
If you are also running a paid advertisement, then you should scan its reach in a comprehensive manner. Always include your hashtag in the promoted content and track it in order to know how it is leading to various conversations on social media. It will let you scale the effectiveness of your paid content. You can always learn from these results and come up with an improved paid advertisement plan in the future.
For instance, you can see how tactfully Louis Vuitton has taken the help of visual aids to promote their paid content. They can easily measure its reach by tracking their hashtags.
— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) December 4, 2015
Track brand hashtags and monitor your competition
This is undoubtedly one of the most evident uses of hashtag tracking. Every leading digital marketer knows that one of the prime uses of social media is to create brand awareness. One can easily perform brand monitoring in a highly effective manner by taking the assistance of a hashtag monitoring tool.
There are different parameters that can be included while tracking your brand hashtag on platforms like Twitter. This will give you an in-depth breakdown of how your hashtag is being used by your audience. After obtaining these analytics, you can easily gain useful insights and get better over time.
Almost every major brand has their signature hashtag that can be used to perform brand monitoring. For instance, Coca-Cola can easily get to know how their campaign is doing by tracking their widely known #ShareaCoke hashtag.
Additionally, it can also be used to know the ongoing trends or analyze your competitor’s move. As a brand manager, you should always be a few steps ahead of your competitors. In order to know how they are performing on social media, keep tracking their major hashtags. This will help you unravel their marketing campaigns and you will always stay at the top of your game without much trouble.
Track campaigns (online and offline)
In order to tap the rapid growth of social media, brands have found a way to integrate their offline and online campaigns. You must have already noticed how various commercials on television or billboard posters these days include a brand’s hashtag. This is to encourage individuals to take their conversations on social media.
If you want your brand to get noticed by your audience, then you should try to maintain productive conversations with your audience on social media. Twitter is one of the best platforms to achieve it. You can easily integrate your offline campaigns and make it digital by including your hashtag. Later, you can just use a hashtag tracker to keep a constant check on it.
Earlier this year, the Recording Academy came up with a phenomenal ad for the Grammy’s. They integrated it with their #BelieveInMusic campaign, and the rest was history.
Furthermore, there are plenty of other ways one can use hashtag tracking. From curating user-generated content to tracking the involvement of your in-house employees – there are plenty of ways hashtag tracking can help you save your time and resources.
Don’t wait anymore and take the assistance of an effective hashtag tracking tool in order to level-up your digital marketing game. If you have any queries regarding social media listening or would like to know more about different prospects of hashtag tracking, feel free to reach out to me. Drop a comment below and I will get back to you in no time.