Hashtags have long been a presence on the web, introduced by Twitter way back in 2007. These days, they’re everywhere–on Facebook. Instagram, and even YouTube.Today, they remain an undeniably vital tool for Twitter users, allowing brands expand their reach and grow audience, and classify content in front of Twitter’s 126 million daily active users.
Despite the fact that the hashtag is such a familiar part of the digital landscape, many marketing pros still make some amateur mistakes when it comes to finding the most powerful hashtags for their brand.
To make the most of your hashtags’ performance increase Twitter hashtags search results on Google, you’ll need to spend some time researching to uncover the most relevant and beneficial tags for you.
Choosing the Most Powerful Hashtags
When using hashtags, you can’t just choose any phrase because you’ll be gambling with your tweet’s performance.
You need to put careful consideration into the words you use as hashtags categorize your tweets for searchability.
According to Twitter, “The hashtag has become one of the most valuable assets in any modern marketing campaign. Those brands that create the most effective hashtags will see the most benefits from their Twitter account”
When creating hashtags, your mission is to develop a unique tag to stand out in your industry to gain more recognition.
Twitter streams get crowded and if you choose a played-out hashtag like #marketing or #SocialMedia, it’s going to be difficult to stand out in a sea of generic posts. As is the case with content marketing, you need to tap into the right niche in order to get in front of the right people.
In addition, you want to create a hashtag that’s specific, easy to remember, and helps to organize what you’re saying. Take the “Dancing with the Stars” hashtag as an example, #DWTS. It’s short, simple, unique, and offers more space in the 220-character limit for your engaging commentary.
Finally, your hashtag must be adaptable across multiple social channels, like Facebook and Instagram.
Cross-promoting Twitter hashtags will generate more exposure on other channels, offering your followers a more memorable experience across the web. This will reinforce your brand at every touchpoint and helping you drive more traffic to your site.
Branded vs. Unbranded Twitter Hashtags
For most Twitter activities, your best bet is to focus most of your efforts on relevant but unbranded hashtags that center around trends and topics that relate to your business.
Like any type of marketing, it’s smart to spend more time engaging with your community than constantly pressuring people to make a purchase or download your latest eBook.
Keep in mind, brand hashtags don’t necessarily need to mention your brand name, but they should give users a sense of what you stand for—even if they don’t know about your brand and its offerings at this point.
Keep in mind, branded hashtags should fall into two main camps—the first is an ongoing hashtag—think Nike’s #JustDoIt or #MyCalvins by Calvin Klein. In this case, these brands are using familiar slogans that people associate with their offerings.
The second type is campaign specific—i.e. hashtags created for short-term user-generated content campaigns, contests, and giveaways. Famous examples include Lays’ #GiveUsAFlavor or Audi’s #WantAnR8. The Lays example was used to solicit ideas for new chip flavors.
If you’re not a Nike or Calvin Klein, don’t expect people to start sharing your hashtag in their everyday tweets. Instead, create a hashtag to promote certain events or brand initiatives, and be sure to give your audience clear guidelines on how or why to use it.
How to Find the Best Twitter Hashtags
According to Hubspot, these are the most popular Twitter hashtags as of September 2019. The list includes hashtags like #Tuesdaymotivation, #crowdfunding, #crypto, and #medicaid—mostly generic, unbranded, yet topical tags.
Some of these may be a good starting point for a deeper dive or for use in your next brand awareness campaign. Or, you might take to Twitter’s Explore tab to see what’s trending on the platform—which is a good way to stay updated on what’s happening in news, entertainment, and sports.
Still, simply pulling up a popular Twitter hashtags list isn’t enough.
If you’re a SaaS company or you work in the healthcare space, tweeting about whatever Beyonce is up to or linking to the latest meme probably won’t play out too well with your audience.
Instead, you’ll need to use some tools to identify hot topics that sync up to your brand’s story, mission, and goals.
Here, I’ll go over some tools you can use to start your Twitter hashtag search:
- BuzzSumo: Research key influencers to help promote your tweets by discovering great topics related to your business. You’ll find out what’s already working to save time and can quickly find the best Twitter hashtags for your industry.
- Tagdef: Tagdef (which, by the way, means “hashtag definition” is a site that lists trending hashtags by timeframe and gives marketers a definition and context for each one—helping them avoid public gaffes and the repetitional damage/public shaming that comes with the territory. The last thing you want to do is tweet an embarrassing or negative hashtag and have to issue an apology like DiGiorno Pizza‘s #WhyIStayed blunder in 2014.
- SocialMention: View real-time social media analysis to search for the most relevant and top performing hashtags. You’ll view trending topics to find related hashtags to promote your tweets.
- Google Keyword Planner: With hashtags acting as keywords on Twitter, you’ll find the best keywords to use while estimating their performance to build your Twitter campaigns.
- SEMRush: View more than 106 million keywords to determine the best hashtags to advertise on Twitter. By analyzing trends and competition, you’ll take the guesswork out of your hashtag use.
- HashTracking: View real-time insights for hashtag campaigns to determine influencers, searchability, historic data, and sharing. The data is collected and displayed in simple charts and graphs to streamline performance.
- Hashtags.org: Organize hashtags using Twitter’s API stream to search a hashtag’s definition, related terms, related tweets, and performance statistics. You’re able to study trends to determine the popularity of certain hashtags.
- TrendsMap: Research hashtags where they are trending by location, which is especially beneficial for specific location-based businesses and events to target a more direct audience.
- TagBoard: After creating a specific hashtag, you’re able to track the hashtag’s performance and display the most popular posts using that tag.
- HashTagify.me: Research more than 35,000,000 hashtags for quick research on relevant hashtags. You’re able to connect hashtags to trending topics to draw more correlation for maximum performance.
- HashAtlt: Use it as a search engine to discover the best hashtags across social media platforms, including Twitter, to find the most relevant terms to use.
- Keyhole: Track hashtags and keywords in real-time to analyze their performance to create more shareable tweets for maximum engagement.
- RiteTag: Streamline the process of finding the best tags to use with your content. You’ll discover new tagging phrases to ensure your tweets are found and shared.
- Topsy: Analyze endless tweets to gather information pertaining to their conversions, indexing, and ranking trends. You’re able to predict their performance for easier decision making.
Finally, once you’ve identified some hashtags and started running campaigns, you’ll want to make sure you’re tracking your results.
Head over to my post on Twitter analytics to learn more about the built-in reporting features, as well as some recommended third-party tools.
Twitter Hashtags: Mistakes and Best Practices
While hashtags are ubiquitous for a reason, there are some limits to their usefulness. For example, if you’re running paid ads in an effort to drive traffic, they might not be your best bet.
In fact, Twitter research has found that ads without hashtags or @mentions generate 23 percent more clicks than those that include them.
Per Twitter guidelines, you should avoid adding hashtags to your paid posts so as not to drive traffic away from the CTA—it’s too distracting for consumers!
To get the most mileage out of the humble hashtag, here are a few more critical mistakes to watch out for.
- Get the Format Right: Capitalize only when necessessary and don’t use spaces or punctuation in a hashtag or mention.
- Use the Right Hashtag: Whether the goal is to capitalize on a trending hashtag or catch the eye of a specific account, make sure you get the hashtag right. Before posting, do some research on the trends and terms your industry uses on the platform. With @mentions, make sure you look up the Twitter name of the target account before posting—you’ll want to make sure you don’t @ the wrong person (not a good look).
- Keep it relevant: Using irrelevant hashtags has the same effect as using irrelevant keywords in your blog content—it attracts the wrong audience and has a negative effect on your engagement rate. Make sure you do your research to find the most relevant hashtags for your brand—and your campaign goals to build the right engagement for your brand.
- Don’t use too many hashtags: According to Twitter, the hashtag sweet spot hovers somewhere around 1-2 per tweet. In fact, using three or more tags in a Tweet can drop your engagement rate by as much as 17%. This isn’t Instagram, after all—on Twitter, this kind of behavior comes across as spammy.
- Research! To make the most of your hashtags’ performance on Twitter and to increase search results on Google, research to find the most relevant and beneficial tags to build engagement for your brand.
Wrapping Up Twitter Hashtags
While hashtags might not be the latest trend in social media, they remain a mainstay when it comes to increasing visibility in a crowded online space and finding your audience.
That said, don’t make the mistake of piggybacking on trends or retweeting random hashtags.
Instead, use any of the tools I’ve mentioned above to find the best terms for your brand. Trends are great, but only use them when it makes sense—otherwise, you risk turning off your followers or undermining your brand identity.