03 May

What’s The Deal With Hashtags & Can They Actually Help Me Grow My Business?

Learning how hashtags work for blogs, articles and social media.

When writing for an audience or in a specific educational or informative vein, it can be tough to see past the hard part — that is, actually writing your piece — to the really difficult part: reaching your target audience.

And for many writers, even if you have knowledge or understanding of who your target audience is for the piece you’re writing, there’s still some confusion in knowing how to get it to them.

Social media sites have made reaching your readers easier than ever (we’re definitely not talking about you, Facebook), but now that you know what platforms your audience is using, you’re still not out of the marketing woods just yet.

Each website you employ to reach your audience is going to have a lot of little tricks you can use to make like the Little Mermaid and get to where the people are. One of the best ways to do this is to get at least a basic understanding of how hashtags can actually drive your traffic for you.

Whether you’re on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even something like a Wordpress hosted domain, these sites employ hashtags to make it easier to categorize your articles so that people who are honestly interested in your topic of choice will be able to find it.

And while most people have at least some knowledge or awareness of hashtags, they might not realize that they’re using them improperly.

Hashtags are, at their core, a way to put your pieces into neat little categories for potential readers to get hold of easily. However, there’s a lot of confusion over how to find appropriate hashtags, or how to use a new one so that you really stand out from the crowd.

Here are 4 ways you can employ hashtags to do the hard work for you:

  1. Don’t miscategorize your posts.

In both life and hashtags, bigger is not always better. No one is going to find your article if they have to dig through twenty-five areas not associated with your article’s main topic to get to it.

If you’re writing about “signs that your partner is displaying sociopathic tendencies,” but you tag the article for “divorce,” then you’re not going to reach the people who want to read this article. And the ones you do reach likely won’t interact, share, or even read it, because it looks like you just picked a random tag and don’t know what you’re doing, which won’t promote your expertise on it very well.

Only tag your work for the category that each specific piece represents — otherwise, you’re inviting a bad experience to be the only thing someone associates with your name or brand.

  1. Don’t over-tag your posts.

There is oftentimes the urge to just grab a whole bunch of tags that we think will fit the post, rather than choosing a small section here to put it in. But over-tagging your posts, just like miscategorizing them, will also make it look like you don’t understand what you’re doing.

It’s best to choose only a few categories (how many depends on the site) that fit your piece exactly and tag only those segments.

For instance, a recent poll on TrackMaven revealed that Twitter posts that have more than two hashtags have less time-on-page than posts that only employ two.

For Instagram users, more tags often equal more engagement in your piece, but if you go over ten tags, you won’t see a positive result. In fact, you can lose potential followers for having too many tags and appearing spammy.

And this advice goes for any website: #don’t #tag #every #single #word for #pretty #obvious #reasons. These posts simply look unprofessional and will make people actively avoid them.

  1. Use them to join in conversations the right way.

This is particularly useful on sites that employ group tags, like Twitter and Instagram, but you can even do this on Facebook and other sites that categorize by events, dates, or functions.

Want to talk about a charity event you’re at? Great! Say your statement and then #TheFunctionYoureAt. This will put it in a list of other recent tags that will be searchable by anyone who clicks on that word.

Reply to other people with this tag, post new comments, pictures, or links to it, and build a conversation with others talking about the same thing.

Keep accidental miscategorization in mind when you do this, however, so that your comments and posts are as on-topic as possible.

  1. Find the perfect hashtag for your article.

Now that hashtags have become so helpful in grouping and categorizing content on sites, there are plenty of places you can go to find a hashtag that will help you find the perfect audience for your work. One simple option is to find others who post content similar to you, then go through and see how they’re using their tags, and mimic the style.

If you want, you can also check into websites like Hastagify.me to see what’s trending around popular topics or topics that you can search that are relevant to your work.

Hashtags might seem complicated, but with a little bit of practice, you can soon learn the perfect way to reach your audience, find your potential readers, and connect with them better than ever before.

Good luck!

Need help learning the tricks of the trade to market your counseling, coaching or healing practice online? We have the answers you need. Reach out for a free consultation to see what it will take to get your business on the right track today!