Hashtags are the social media equivalent of keywords. Choosing the right combination can help you work around the various algorithms through the application of platform-specific SEO.
With millions of photos and videos posted to social media every day, having the right blend of hashtags can be the difference between driving traffic to your profile and getting lost in the noise. Here are some effective hashtags to add to your mix to drive traffic.
Different types of Photo and Video Hashtags
Photo and video challenges are nothing new. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014 and became one of the most effective non-profit campaigns of all time. Before social media became the all-encompassing cultural phenomenon it is today, the planking challenge of 2010 went viral before the word "viral" became a colloquialism.
However, video and photo challenges are more popular than ever, thanks to the rise of Instagram and TikTok. These challenges always come with a catchy hashtag that sees millions of users over a few days.
Brands and influencers should be ready to act when the opportunity to use a challenge hashtag arises. Whether it's #dollypartonchallenge or #fliptheswitch, taking advantage of this hashtag can help expand your audience and boost your engagement. Furthermore, these challenges add a human side to businesses and invoke a sense of authenticity.
Trending hashtags often go hand-in-hand with challenges. However, these hashtags are often used in conjunction with topical events, both locally and globally. A common example for fall 2020 would be hashtags about the US election.
The key thing to remember when using trending hashtags is that you shouldn't try to hack them if your content is irrelevant. While your posts might get viewed in the feed, they won't spark a genuine connection. Use trending hashtags when you have something to add to the conversation.
The internet loves alliterations— words that start the same. One of the simplest ways to use hashtags to drive traffic to your profile is to partake in daily hashtag use. For example, there are some great hashtag ideas for taking selfies that tie into the daily hashtag trend, most notably #SelfieSaturday. Many businesses and personal brands will use #TipTuesday to share an engaging tidbit with a high re-share value.
Incorporate daily hashtags into your content calendar, finding a blend that works for you. These are also a great last-minute option to use when inspiration strikes.
A branded hashtag is specific to your brand, tying into your company values and brand voice. Using this hashtag can help you engage in social listening to make data-driven marketing decisions and curate user-generated content (UGC). Branded hashtags help build customer loyalty and drive traffic to your profile through frequent use and referrals.
Having a branded hashtag is an effective way to expand your follower base. If one of your loyal audience members follows your hashtag, their followers will also receive a recommendation to check you out.
When creating a branded hashtag, try to avoid using your company name. Use your slogan or a simple phrase that resonates with your customer. For example, boxing studio Gloveworx uses #BecomeUnstoppable and #GetInTheRing as their branded hashtags. These both resonate with the brand and give insights into the core values of this fitness studio.
Branded Hashtags Screenshot: Gloveworx
Industry hashtags are broad, high-traffic hashtags that relate to your general area of focus. For example, an independent small business owner could use #entrepreneur. In fact, there are millions of people who own businesses who could use that tag. A self-employed hairdresser could use at least two industry hashtags: #entrepreneur and #hairstylist.
While these hashtags aren't effective for finding local customers, it can help tag your profile as a point of interest for followers who frequently interact with industry hashtags.
Niche hashtags are honed in the version of industry hashtags. Using these hashtags, you can clarify your target audience and drive the right people to your profile. For example, a photographer could niche down and use a #familyphotographer or #weddingphotographer hashtag.
Niche hashtags have less competition and identify your area of expertise. These hashtags can help drive your ideal follower or customer to your profile, leading to a more engaged following and the potential for conversions.
Industry, Niche, Location Hashtags: Natthaya Beatty Photography
Location hashtags are incredibly important for small businesses and influencers aiming to build a following in a specific area. These can also be used with niche and industry hashtags— #detroitweddingphotographer or #LAhairstylist, for example.
It's essential to use a few location hashtags in your mix, particularly if you build content around travel or hospitality. Potential customers will use these hashtags to find reputable local services, and they increase their chances of being re-shared.
Other Hashtags to Add
In addition to these specific hashtags, there are also other general relevant hashtags to include in your posts. These are the hashtags that pertain to your subject matter but don't fall under a specific umbrella.
For example, suppose you have a fitness business. In that case, topics like #selfcare and #gymlife could help your photos and videos reach the right audience. Take some time to conduct keyword research by scanning what other hashtags your ideal followers, similar businesses, and your competition are using. Use these as guidelines to create a blend that suits your brand voice and marketing goals.
High-Traffic Hashtags vs. Low-Traffic Hashtags
One of the common challenges businesses and influencers face when developing a hashtag mix is determining whether they should use high or low traffic hashtags.
While using solely high-traffic hashtags has the potential to put your content in front of more people, it also presents a very limited window for someone to find you. Think of it this way: you and one million other people are using that hashtag at this moment. That means someone who isn't on Instagram or TikTok right now likely won't see it, as it will get bumped along the feed.
Conversely, using a low-traffic hashtag with fewer than 100,000 uses will narrow down the focus but leave you in a prominent position for longer. The solution? Use a blend of both.
Add 2-5 high-traffic hashtags and ten low-traffic hashtags across the various options. For example, your blend could include:
- Two industry hashtags
- Three niche hashtags
- Two location hashtags
- One daily hashtag
- One branded hashtag
- Six general relevant hashtags
By creating a blend of photo and video hashtags from the various categories, you can expand your reach and ensure your content gets in front of your ideal audience.
Tips for Using Hashtags to Drive Traffic
While these photo and video hashtags can help get your content in front of the right people, they aren't the be-all-end-all of connecting with an audience.
Create high-quality content that your followers want to see and watch. Write compelling captions to go with your photo posts and use best practices when editing videos for the various platforms. Hashtags are a powerful tool for attracting an audience and driving them to your profile, but it's the content that will ultimately connect.
Remember to set aside time to review your insights and determine which hashtags attracted your audience. Use these insights to shape your strategy going forward. With ample research, time, and dedication, you'll find the right hashtags for your photo and video content.
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