As a business owner, you’ll be constantly looking for new opportunities to boost your website’s traffic, simply to ensure that your business receives enough exposure that’ll keep your brand’s growth active. Countless tactics can increase your website’s traffic, many of them being related to social media channels.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest – these are the most popular and widely used social networks, all of them offering business owners diverse possibilities to grow their brand exposure, reputation, and sales through various tools.
Hashtags – The Revolutionary Social Media Marketing Feature
Hashtags or hashtag marketing is a popular marketing strategy that involves the smart use of #hashtags across different social media platforms. As every social media channel is different by nature, purpose, and utility, so are the “rules” and principles of hashtags in relation to every different network.
First, ensure you understand how hashtags work on each social network you’re going to use (because they’re different, they must be approached differently), learn the best strategies (for each), and take action on a consistent basis while carefully measuring your performance.
Basic Hashtag Principles
- Hashtags are integrated into every popular social media network (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+. Hashtags work differently on each platform.
- You can insert hashtags at the beginning, end, or middle of your social media post.
- Short hashtags gain the most attention, mostly because they’re simple, concrete, and memorable.
- Don’t use abstract hashtags. Instead, leverage branded and informative ones.
- If you piggyback on other brand’s hashtags, you’ll be perceived as a “copycat,” and you might damage your brand’s reputation.
- Never ask questions through hashtags.
- Avoid using offensive, racist, or complicated language
- Leverage capital words to make long hashtags readable. E.G. #IceBucketChallenge
- Acknowledge the best hashtag practices on each network before you post too many or too few hashtags in your posts.
- Hashtags allow you to develop a creative brand marketing strategy that’ll help your brand stand out from the crowd. Out-of-the-box thinking is key.
- Never post hashtags that contain grammar or spelling mistakes. They’ll hurt your brand big time!
How to Use Hashtags on Social Media to Increase Website Traffic
Establish Specific Goals
Before you develop any type of hashtag marketing campaign, you’ll need to have two aspects checked. First, you must understand your target audience well enough. Be sure you acknowledge their needs, problems, wants, and desires.
Second, you’ll need to establish specific goals for your hashtag campaign. What do you want to get from it?
- Brand awareness?
- Improved reputation?
- New email leads?
- Direct sales?
Every marketing campaign needs a concrete direction. Don’t start your hashtag marketing without understanding where you’re heading to.
Align Hashtags with Your Brand
When you brainstorm new hashtag ideas or choose different trending hashtags for your new campaign, keep both your target audience and brand’s culture in mind. Leverage wordplay, creative puns, or inspiring messages that somehow relate to your brand’s mission or motto. This healthy practice will also increase your brand’s complexity and professionalism.
Use Hashtags Differently According to the Target Platform
To use hashtags effectively across more social networks, you must learn the “rules” and best practices that can be applied to each. According to different studies, here’s the average hashtag use on each major social media channel:
Twitter: Tweets that contain 1 or more hashtags get a 55 increased chance of getting retweeted. Using more than two hashtags can actually decrease your post’s performance.
Instagram: More than 11 hashtags per Instagram post will ensure the highest interaction rates.
Facebook: Using hashtags on Facebook won’t guarantee you extra reach. The overuse of hashtags on this social network will decrease your post’s reach.
Create Actionable Hashtags
Actionable hashtags are basically hashtags that contain calls to action (CTAs). They can be used alongside branded or informative hashtags, and their role is to encourage prospects to take different types of action: visit your site, interact with your social media post (like, comment, share, tag), or purchase your products or services.
Publish Great Content
Content is still king, regardless of what hashtags might be accompanying it. Every new social media update you make counts. If your hashtag’s use is perfect, but your content’s quality is low, the traffic you bring to your site will be disappointed, bounce off, and never come back.
Every great hashtag campaign is backed up by a brilliant content marketing plan. Ensure you plan your content and hashtag marketing strategies before you give them a go, and make quality and relevancy a high priority.
Discover and Leverage Trending Hashtags
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to gain extra traffic with your hashtags. You can approach the situation differently. Instead of coming up with an original hashtag that’s meant to go viral, you can leverage the already-existent trending hashtags that receive a lot of traffic.
Take advantage of several hashtag analysis tools to see what’s popular at the moment. Using special hashtag tracking tools, you’ll be able to understand how your hashtags are performing, how trending they are in your niche, and what other similar hashtags could be used in the future.
Remember: It is ideal to use only the popular hashtags that your brand’s strategy, content, products, or services are highly related to.
Develop a Branded Hashtags
A branded hashtag is a unique hashtag that is basically extremely linked to your business. Its purpose is to inspire people to action, enhance the brand’s image and reputation, or expand the campaign’s reach. A branded hashtag can be:
- Your brand’s name. e.g., #Dove
- Your brand’s tagline, e.g., Nike’s #JustDoIt,
- A call-to-action that is meant to create a movement – e.g., Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke, #IceBucketChallenge
- The support of a cause or general belief – e.g., Always’ #LikeAGirl
- Contests or giveaways that encourage user-generated content– e.g., Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins
Of course, every branded hashtag is developed after the brand has established its strategy and budget. Depending on your business objectives, choose the type of branded hashtag (and it’s potential benefits) and include it in your social media posts on a regular basis.
Since hashtags became an important social media feature, lots of brands have successfully managed to reap the huge benefits involved. Traffic, to be exact, is precious to any business that seeks to develop relationships with their customers online and improve the reach of their products and services.
Since digital marketing is a number’s game and hashtags are a primary tool that helps you win the game, it would be wise to start approaching it as soon as possible. Take our tips and tricks into consideration and start growing your traffic right now!