Remember when # was commonly named the pound symbol? Chances are that your audiences don’t. Social media has made the same symbol far more possible under a different name: a hashtag. Today, it’s among the most important components of any influencer marketing strategy.
That’s not just a general statement, either. On Twitter, hashtags increase engagement up to 100 percent for individuals and 50 percent for brands. Meanwhile, on Instagram, posts with at least one hashtag get 29 percent more engagement on average.
And that’s before we even discuss the increased reach opportunities. Tap into the right phrases and trends, and your hashtags can allow influencer content to be seen by audiences who don’t even follow either the influencer or brand involved.
Of course, it’s not as simple as repurposing the symbol formerly known as pound, and adding a phrase you like to it. Hashtags on social media deserve extra thought and special consideration. These six tips can help you make sure that they’re used strategically. An effective approach will help your influencer campaign succeed.
Tip #1: Research Potential Hashtags
It’s tempting to operate based on hunches. But doing so can also be a dramatic mistake. What if you link your influencer campaign into hashtags with questionable conversations surrounding them? What if you are actually linking into a different industry? Fortunately, there’s a simple way to avoid that. Do your research.
At its most basic, hashtag research is as simple as typing in any terms you’re considering into the networks your content will be featured on. But it makes sense to go beyond that with a more formal approach.
Fortunately, plenty of tools exist to help. Hashtagify, for example, allows you to find popular hashtags based on common terms. Iconsquare provides (paid) analytics of hashtag performance and demographics. And of course, you can always plug potential hashtag into an influencer database like Reach.Dog to focus specifically on the influencer connection.
Tip #2: Build a Hashtag Bank
Based on your research, consider creating a database of potential hashtags that you can tap into for any current and future campaign. That prevents you from having to perform research each time you plan a campaign or post new content within your influencer strategy.
A simple spreadsheet is typically enough. Just make sure everyone you work with has access to it, and segment your hashtag into five categories:
- Brand hashtags, which are uniquely tied to your business and/or product.
- Campaign hashtags, which are similar to brand hashtags but tied to a campaign slogan or tagline.
- Category hashtags, typically related to the content in question. Think #fashion or #leisure.
- Event hashtags, ranging from physical events to new TV show releases.
- Legal hashtags, which have specific relevance in influencer marketing. More on those in Tip #5.
Tip #3: Adjust Your Hashtag Strategy for Each Network
Every social media network is unique, and your hashtags have to reflect that fact. Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Instagram: Posts with at least 11 hashtags receive the most engagement and longer hashtags outperform shorter ones.
- Twitter: Tweets with one to two hashtags receive the highest engagement, while hashtags in ads actually decrease performance.
- Facebook (AKA Meta): A single hashtag is the maximum to receive good engagement. Each additional hashtag reduces performance.
These nuances are equally valuable for brands working with influencers, and the influencers themselves. A channel-specific approach for hashtags, all building on a more central brand developed from thoughtful research, can go a long way toward driving success.
Tip #4: Use Hashtags Beyond Your Posts
The most natural spot for a hashtag will always be an influencer’s post. But it doesn’t have to be the only option. Depending on the network, inserting key hashtags elsewhere can have a significant positive effect.
For example, key brand and campaign hashtags can make sense in an Instagram and Twitter bio. They’re inherently clickable, allowing visitors to easily find all content related to that hashtag. If, for instance, all of your content from a particular influencer or about a particular product shares a hashtag, linking to it in a more permanent spot can go a long way towards increasing visibility.
Other opportunities, like Instagram Stories, also offer new possibilities. The key, of course, is making sure that the hashtag you choose matches the way in which you use it. Naturally, a time-sensitive hashtag will not work well on a bio, while the inverse is true on Instagram Stories.
Tip #5: Use Hashtags to Disclose Partnerships
Any brand or influencer familiar with this symbiotic relationship likely knows about at least some disclosure requirements. In the U.S., for example, the FTC requires that influencers clearly identify and label any sponsored posts, and similar rules for so-called “hidden advertisements” exist in many other countries, as well.
That’s where hashtags come in. The FTC actually recommends hashtags like #ad or #sponsored as a legal form of disclosure, as long as it’s not hidden among other hashtags or links. It’s a simple and effective way to follow legal requirements without changing the content of the post.
Tip #6: Track Your Hashtag Success
Finally, with hashtags as with any other form of digital marketing, it’s vital to avoid flying blind. Even if your initial research turned up potentially great opportunities, reality (and your audiences) may disagree. Tracking the success of your hashtags allows you to adjust your strategy over time, maximizing your long-term success.
Many social media management platforms, like Sprout Social and HootSuite, include hashtag analytics as an integrated feature. Using your hashtag bank, you can periodically track to ensure that your hashtags continue to gain traction and make an impact, creating a dynamic process designed to optimize your influencer strategy and execution.
In modern influencer marketing, it’s almost impossible to avoid hashtags. The right approach can help you avoid it becoming a hazard, and use it to your advantage for both engagement and legal compliance purposes. Fortunately, it’s not rocket science. Tips like the above might just be all you need to effectively integrate hashtags into your influencer marketing strategy.
Let Reach.Dog Help Refine Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Hashtags are just one piece of a successful influencer marketing strategy. Whether you are a brand looking for influencers or an influencer trying to establish your credibility, Reach.Dog can help.
At its most basic, it’s an unbiased, searchable database of creators- aka influencers. The platform allows brands to view each creator’s multi-channel social media presence. Influencers use it as a tool to make sure that their presence and personal brand is represented exactly how it should be. Ready to learn more? Reach.Dog is a free influencer marketing platform, developed by James Cashiola. Get started on our website today.
By The Reach.Dog Team