Hashtags. #hashtag. It’s black magic, y’all. Use the wrong one and get shadowbanned. Use the right ones and really get a leg up on developing your content. That being said, hashtags are one of the most misunderstood parts of the social media influencer space. There’s a lot that can go wrong: a bad mix of hashtags, too few, too many, too spammy. But I have a few quick tips that help my content stay relevant, not get shadowbanned, and be an effective strategy for your personal or business brand.
Keep a good mix:
What does this mean? Imagine your hashtag combination as a salad. You have your big ingredients like spinach or romaine lettuce. Then your smaller, more custom toppings including tomatoes, feta cheese, nuts… y’know, the good stuff that you get to pick.
Use a mix of bigger hashtags (think like #instafashion, #iphonephotography etc) with smaller, more niche ones that narrow down your community (like #kccreatives or #midwestblogger). If you use too many big hashtags, you could run the risk of shadowbanning. Use too many small ones, and you limit your organic reach.
Etiquette with Hashtags:
I’ve heard some people snark you shouldn’t use more than 3-8 hashtags, but I tend to disagree with this. If you’re keeping a solid mix and trying to maximize organic reach, you may need 10-12. That being said, use good judgment:
-Add your hashtags as a comment ASAP after you finish posting. Don’t do the 5 periods and then add hashtags in your caption. It’s a pain for those reading your caption and looks different on every mobile device.
-Don’t use the spammy ones like #followme. You aren’t reaching people interested in your content, you’re reaching people wanting a follow back. Follow/unfollow isn’t a good look, honey, so don’t play that game.
-I like perusing some of my smaller hashtags for other similar accounts. If nothing else, you can learn from others. It’s good to connect with others and not just want people to engage with your content; don’t be a taker, be a contributor as well.
Last but not least, don’t depend on them as a strategy:
Look, I love a good hashtag (and salad). It’s unsustainable at best to fully depend on them as a strategy. You do not want your content to be at the behest of an algorithm. Hashtags are a significant strategy for your brand or influencer accounts. They can’t be the sole foundation. A few good ways to cross-pollinate outside of the hashtag:
-Leverage location tagging.
-Go to local blogger / influencer events
-Get involved professionally. (Are you interested in the Social Media Club of Kansas City? I’m an Events Co-Chair with the organization!)
-Engage with other local bloggers, influencers and creatives. Meet them in person. Drop them a kind comment on their latest post. Again, be a contributor, not a taker.
What lessons have you learned about hashtags? I’m always curious about the wide range of opinions on the subject and want to hear your take. Stop by my Instagram for more on social media marketing.