Social Media 101: How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Audience

We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have even used them. But the real question is, how can we use hashtags to grow our audience?

First, let’s start with the basic definition.

Hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

But that’s not all. The implementation of hashtags is constantly evolving with social media platforms, and with technology in general. They extend themselves to a community of people who are searching for new, inspiring content on a daily basis, which is exactly why you should be utilizing them.

Like everything else, hashtags require research. But where do you begin?

Step 1: Identify your target audience. I may sound like broken record here, but audience identification and research go hand-in-hand, in more ways than one. You need to know exactly who you’re looking to attract before you can create effective content to do just that.

Step 2: Search hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. After establishing your target audience and the content they figuratively subscribe to, pinpoint the hashtags they’re using and searching for. Get in the mind of your audience. Think about what tags they might search for on Twitter or Instagram (Facebook doesn’t use hashtags as much). If you’re an author, #bookstoread and #bookstagram are popular, community-based hashtags that many bookworms use when looking for new reading material. Complete a search of your own to see which posts get the most traction.

Step 3: Analyze and implement. What hashtags seem to be working for other people in your niche? What patterns do you see? Do the tags pertain to your content? If so, adopt them!

It’s also important to incorporate as many relevant hashtags as you can find, according to Jumper Media. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, so don’t be afraid to use as many as you see fit. It will only widen your post’s reach and give you and your content more exposure.

The beauty of hashtags is the fact that they’re community-based; therefore, it’s up to you to figure out what community (or communities) you want to tap into. Although the specific tags may seem rather trite and adolescent, use them anyway. It’s simply the nature of the hashtag.

For more on content strategizing, check out our latest post.

Happy hashtagging!

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Social Media 101: Social Media Terms – An Introduction

As brands big and small have discovered, social media is its own animal, especially when it comes to building an online presence. If you are just starting out on social media, or plan to start soon, we have some important social media terms you should know to help you understand how to create an online brand presence and use it to your best potential.

Handle: A word that is only for usernames that use the at (@) symbol. Twitter and Instagram are the two most popular platforms that use them. For instance, our Twitter handle is @mckinneypr, and it is implied that you know to go to twitter.com/@mckinneypr to find us.

Facebook Page: Do you have a Facebook account and wonder what people mean when people ask if you have a Facebook page? It doesn’t sound different, but it is. A Facebook account is your personal account that all your friends are on, while a Facebook page is for your business or creative endeavor. You have to create a page from your personal account, and you can allow people you trust, such as your teen or social media manager, to manage your Facebook Page from their own Facebook account. Your friends also don’t automatically roll over to your Facebook Page-you have to invite them to like it.

Hashtag: What many social media mavens know as the hashtag, and you may know as the pound sign (#). The “#” is used across almost all social media networks. Each time you hashtag something, it becomes a link that you can click on and view other posts by other people with that hashtag, in that social media network. For instance, if you tweet a photo of yourself with an ice cream cone that fell on the ground, you might caption it with “Ice cream #fail.” Click on #fail and it links you to a bunch of other people who tweeted about their own fails.

For a cuter example, American Kennel Club’s Instagram (@americankennelclub) posted a picture of a border collie with the #BorderCollie, which then went into Instagram’s hashtag category of people posting and tagging photos of their border collies.

social media terms hashtag
American Kennel Club tagged #bordercollie on Instagram for all those border collie lovers out there to enjoy this adorable photo.

Organic/Paid Reach: The different ways that people are engaging with your social media posts. Organic reach is when interaction happens naturally, such as your Facebook followers reading your Facebook post about your bad attempt to make non-bake chocolate chip cookies. Paid reach is when you pay to have the social media network reach out to people that aren’t following your page. If you are an author looking for some Facebook visibility on your new thriller novel, you might target paid outreach to users whose interests include books.

social media terms paid outreach
The box that opens up when you are deciding on paid outreach. You can target people by their interests.

Content: Valuable, free information that you provide on your blog that you may promote on social media. For instance, NerdWallet is a company that offers financial tools. Their blog provides useful info on things people want to know, like rewards credit cards, best interest transfers, and banking news.

Check out our blog for another edition on social media terms and what they mean. And by the way, Internet Trolls are not the same thing as the ones hiding under bridges (but they are similar).

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