HubSpot recently posted on using hashtags and while they have quite a bit of great information, how to best leverage hashtags is changing along with changing context in social media.
Although popularized on Twitter, Hashtags began on IRC as a way of identifying groups. "#" groups were IRC global groups, as opposed to local ones which used “&” tags. These local tags would certainly help now considering how saturated global hashtags can be. Hashtags once added helpful context but they are quickly getting diluted.
Searching is the true power of hashtags.
Maybe it’s good that it takes work to target groups (since they would invariably get flooded as well) and this is where you can file just the audience you're looking for, search and filter with hashtags rather than looking at the overall feed with a tag.
It takes time and continual searching with tags to connect with groups but can yield better and more consistent results. Engaging folks in context is much more powerful than blasting to a whole tagged channel.
1. HubSpot said it at #Inbound2016, “context is king.”
Searching via hashtags, determining context, and then taking action are how to get the most from your hashtags. From the Hubspot article they are right: “The key is to use hashtags sparingly and only when they add value. Use them too much, and they can be confusing, frustrating, and just plain annoying.”
The problem is that so many people are already over-using hashtags this way. Even if you tag sparingly, it can be hard connect with an audience and get your message across with a broad approach.
Automating some content and putting it out there is fine, encouraged even, but don’t have high expectations it will reach your target with perfect accuracy.
This is where the HubSpot article has excellent information. They quickly break down each channel and method of sorting on each channel.
Review the different sorting of each network and take some time to look at the filtering available for each one, they are subtly different.
2. Wherever there are gaps in context, there are opportunities.
Notice the location trends when you search on Twitter? (In the lower left, sometimes they switch to the right-hand as well.) Facebook has this but you need to first start a search then adjust the parameters. Twitter has this as well but it starts collapsed. Instagram has the fewest search options so a third-party solution is needed.
Last, LinkedIn has far more than location, date, and language affording many more opportunities to focus in from interest areas to past companies, there are many ways to find just the right people to connect with.
Looking back at Facebook and Twitter, how can you focus on these areas if the filters aren’t there? Maybe you have visitors to a page with more specific interests?
Look for correlations across networks too. Where Instagram is a bit of a pain to filter you can simply follow the same people you have on other networks to start with a known community.
Post to hashtags, but measure your expectations when you do.
Last, meet people at their hashtags (Look for what they post to!)
If someone is only posting to #marketing occasionally but more so to #productivity, consider commenting and liking specifically when you've posted about that content. (Don't just spam likes.)
When planning out content, consider different communities such as Inbound or Growth Hackers but go a step further and search for a few members and look for what they have been talking about recently to position your content.
Ideally there is a combination of specifically who you are looking to reach, why they should read your content, and what they can do next.
Search and engage with hashtags, there are endless opportunities.