Hashtags can be powerful online marketing elements. Research says that Tweets with 1 or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted.
Hashtags can increase the effectiveness of your online marketing campaign, but only if they are chosen in the right way. The challenge is, there are too many of them out there. How do you choose the right hashtags that can help increase the reach of a specific social media post or a brand campaign? Or may be you are a startup, and you are wondering how to figure out the primary hashtag you can adopt and start using in all your campaigns? Here is a hashtag research tool that can help.
How to choose the right hashtags: A Free Tool
While there are many tools in the market that help you track, review and analyze a hashtag, there are only a few tools (definitely not many free ones) that help you choose the right hashtags.
Hashtagify (http://hashtagify.me) is a simple to use, yet gives powerful insights for your hashtag research. It is a free tool. You may need to do a one time free-registration to access some of the advanced reports like ‘usage patterns’. But it is worth the effort.
Planning – Parent Tags:
Before you start using the tool, I highly recommend that you do a little bit of planning. In an excel sheet or a paper, list down the probable hashtags that you think are relevant for your campaign or brand. I call these the ‘parent tags’. This can be a broad list created out of a combination of different types of hashtags listed below. You could use this ‘parent’ list to research, analyse and narrow down the possible hashtags that you will use in your campaigns.
Types of Hashtags:
- Campaign Hashtags: These are hashtags that contain the keywords used in your campaign. For example, if you are a used-car dealer, and you are planning a campaign for the launch of your showroom, then you would choose #cars, #event, #automobiles, etc.
- Brand Hashtags: These are hashtags representing your company name or brand name (Eg: #ford, #google). It might be a good idea to come up with a couple of options based on your brand name (Eg: #fordmotors vs #ford vs #fordcar). But the goal will be to select one brand hashtag and use it consistently across campaigns.
- Product Hashtags: Hashtags related to specific products or services that you might be promoting in your campaign. For example, in our company, as a digital marketing agency, we often use #socialmedia, #marketing, #webdesign, etc which are popular tags for services that we offer.
- Target Group Hashtags: What is your target market? Can you use a specific hashtag to target them? For example, we often use #startups & #nonprofit in our campaigns because as a digital agency we focus on working with small businesses, startups and non-profit.
- Special or Event Hashtags: If you are trying to promote an event, conference or any other special occasion, select a couple of hashtags with the name of the event. For recurring events, it might be a good idea to add a year/month after the event initials. For example #smmw15 was used by Social Media Examiner during their annual social media conference in San Diego earlier this year and it was a trending hashtag during the event.
- Top Trending Hashtags: You could pick out the hashtags that are currently trending on Twitter, Instagram or other social media channels and if they are relevant your campaign include them in your list. Trending hashtags have the potential to boost your posts, but please ensure that it is relevant to your campaign and audience. If not, you will gain impressions but without business conversion.
There are other types of hashtags like the more famous ‘VIP’ or ‘Stars’ hashtags that are used to track conversations about VIPs, movie stars and famous personalities, there are ‘political’ hashtags, ‘news’ hashtags, etc. The list goes on and on. But you get the idea.
From the above list, pick the relevant ones based on your campaign. Now that you have the ‘parent list’ of possible hashtags ready, review them and try to trim them down to 15 or 20 for each campaign set. Remember, you would only use 1 to 3 tags in any post. (Research shows that more than 3 hashtags could reduce the impact of a campaign) But it is good to have a handful of them in the collection before doing the research, so that you can mix & match to see which gives you a good result.
Now lets move to Hashtagify and look at 4 simple steps for making full use of this free tool.
Visit www.hashtagify.me. Take your parent hashtags list one-by-one and start typing/copying them into the “Search #tag” box to go through the 4 steps for each of them.
Step 1: Shortlist Related Hashtags
There are 3 modes for analysis.
Basic Mode: The default basic mode lets you see the list of related hashtags in a visual ‘Bubble’ graph with each of them connected to the main hashtag. You can hover to each of the bubble and it gives you 3 important information:
- The name of the hashtag
- The popularity
- The correlation to the main hashtag that you searched for
The second and third points are important to help you decide the relevance. Make note of them. Couple of tips for analysing the bubble tool,
- The thicker the connecting line, higher the correlation
- The bigger the bubble, higher the popularity
Advanced mode: Now if you click on the advanced mode tab, it helps you drill down further into each bubble by one level. In the attached image you will see that we have drilled down to the hashtag ‘Autos’ and it has pulled up more bubbles with related hashtags.
Table mode: The table mode is the most useful, primarily because it shows numbers which can be crucial to make business decision. It also allows you to copy the hashtags and compare them.
Using these three modes you can shortlist the set of related hashtags.
Step 2: Find out the top influencers
There is a tab titled ‘Top Influencers’ which will list down the top social media accounts that are currently using this hashtag. This will give you an idea of who you are competing with for the use of this hashtag.
Step 3: See how the hashtag has been used
The next tab ‘Usage Pattern’ will give you statistics like ‘Popularity trends’ and ‘Top days and hours’ for the hashtag.
Step 4: Hashtag Wall – Live Stream
Finally, using the ‘Wall’ tab lets you see the live stream of public posts from social media channels like Instagram and Twitter using this hashtag.
This gives you an idea of the images and other visual elements used by accounts and their content structuring. The users that you see are the ones who might be interested & will most probably be tracking these hashtags. You could also connect with them and ask them to retweet your post so that you can increase the reach of your campaign.
Hope you find these tips and this free tool helpful.
If you are new to Twitter, you might want to read our blog about 7 basic steps for using Twitter.
Now go give it a try. Happy posting!