If You're Not Using Hashtags Correctly, It's Like You Don't Want To Be Seen!
Of all the ways to get discovered on social media platforms, hashtags are probably the simplest and most powerful. Yet many people shy away from using hashtags. In this post we will look at some of the reasons why people avoid using hashtags, and how that avoidance is holding them back from the account growth and conversions they deserve.
MISTAKE #1: Not understanding what hashtags really are, or what they do.
There are a large number of people out there who are pretty proficient at social media, but who still discount hashtags because they do not have a clear understanding of how hashtags work or how they should be used.
These folks may even see hashtags as interchangeable with air quotes - a flippant way to show emphasis, or emote sarcasm. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, using hashtags sarcastically is a good way to run afoul of any social algorithm.
THE TRUTH: Hashtags are a simple and elegant solution to the sheer volume of posts on social. What keywords are to the google algorithm, hashtags are to social algorithms. Using hashtags sarcastically and flippantly is the same thing as using keywords that have nothing to do with your content. Just like Google doesn't like websites that use keywords wrong, social algorithms don't favor accounts that do this.
If this is you, don't be ashamed. You're in good company. And you can fix any damage you've done by correcting how you use hashtags.
Not sure what hashtags to use? Hashtaglists has topical lists of hashtags for thousands of topics. We've preselected the best hashtags for getting your posts seen by the right people.
MISTAKE #2: Thinking hashtags aren't "cool", or are only for marketers.
The second group of people who tend to shy away from hashtags are those that feel that they are exclusively for marketers. They may feel that using hashtags detracts from their post, making them seem like some kind of sell out.
THE TRUTH: Everyone has to start somewhere. Without an existing audience of fans and followers, the algorithm has little idea about who to show your posts to. It will try to learn more from the words that you use in your post and sometimes by scanning the images that you post. It might even gather insight about you from the posts you like and the hashtags and people that you follow. But it's just guessing. Playing coy may work with people, but algorithms are not nearly as intuitive. Better to tell the algorithm what you and your content are about, and make it clear who that content is for.
Simply put, your post is like an envelope that has no address. Without an address, the envelope is unlike to be delivered to the right person. Applying niche/topic specific hashtags is like adding an address to your post. The algorithm will know who to show your content to. And when that audience responds to your content, you'll be rewarded with even more visibility and growth.
Hashtaglists offers you hundreds of hashtags to choose from, for thousands of topics. The more niche specific your hashtags are, the smarter (and cooler) you look, because your hashtag use demonstrates knowledge about and involvement in your craft's community
MISTAKE #3: Thinking hashtags are a thirst trap
Even worse than thinking that hashtags are exclusively for marketing, some people think they are a thirst trap - a desperate ploy for attention.
These people may actually have a point! Hashtags can feel mighty thirsty when applied inappropriately. Too many overused hashtags and off topic hashtags are like a double shot of bad cologne. On an elevator.
THE TRUTH: Popular tags, for most people, are overrated. If your hashtags are not specific to your post, and your audience, your post is going to get lost in the shuffle, while looking desperate. Totally on topic, niche specific hashtags on the other hand, never stink.
MISTAKE #4: Thinking they can use hashtags inappropriately, and win big
These are the folks who actually are "desperate" for attention but don't really know how to get it. So they shout out anything that they think will get them that attention. #Puppy! #Indonesia! #hotgirls! This is a disaster area.
THE TRUTH: Again it is helpful to think about hashtags as keywords. In the same way that keyword stuffing and inappropriate keywords will hurt you on Google, bad hashtag use will harm your reputation and visibility with social algorithms.
Let's look at it from the perspective of "bounce rates". Perhaps the spammy hashtags get a few people to click through. But then what happens? They see they have been duped and they bounce. That tells the algorithm that you are a spammer.
A well planned, researched and accurate hashtag gives your post many more chances to be seen.
In addition to your feed and the feeds of your followers, your post will appear in the feed for the tag. That feed is shown to anyone who searches for the tag. More importantly, that feed is also pushed out to people who follow the hashtag - many of whom don't follow you... yet.
In order to convert hashtag views to followers, your content has to be a strong match for the content that the viewers are asking for. For this reason, it is critical to ask yourself (with every hashtag you use) whether your hashtagged post adds value for the person searching for or following that hashtag.
Is this a post they would hope to see in their search results if they were searching with that tag as a key word? If the answer is yes, then you should absolutely use that tag.
Using highly targeted and accurate tags can make a post go viral. Accounts with followers in the dozens, can get their posts shown to tens of thousands of people, on a regular basis, through the use of great hashtags. And the great news is that the more that audience responds to your content, the more prominently your posts will be featured in the future. In effect, the algorithm recognizes and rewards you for having authority, and elevates your rank.
Why would you leave all that targeted traffic on the table? If you are looking for the easiest way to find the best hashtags to use, for your specific niche, consider becoming a member at hashtaglists.com.