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Hashtags in 2022: the Goldilocks approach

Do you use hashtags on social media to help with your brand performance? If not, you should. They can be an effective way to attract views, likes and shares – both directly, and by helping the social media algorithms understand what your content is and who might be interested in it. Hashtags feature the ‘#’ symbol, followed by a series of letters or numbers, which make it easier for people to find your online content. But how many hashtags should you be using? And is there a magic formula to make your posts more effective?

The Goldilocks Approach
Just like Goldilocks, the key to effective hashtags is to find a number that’s just right. Too many, and your post can look spammy. Too few, and your post might not get much visibility. Guidance has changed over time, but at the moment the sweet spot seems to be:

  • 1-2 on Twitter
  • 2-3 on Facebook
  • 1-5 on LinkedIn
  • 3-5 for Instagram (according to Instagram, although previously this number was thought to be much higher)

Similarly, you should think about how often the hashtags you select are used. If a hashtag is too niche, nobody else might be looking at it. If it’s used too much, you might not get noticed. For example, Gordon Ramsay used #FFS to promote his recent TV show, Future Food Stars. While this is very on-brand for him, it is unlikely that anyone could follow the conversation around his show alongside the thousands of other posts from all around the world that would have been using the same hashtag to discuss very different topics.

Research, research, research
When it comes to finding the perfect hashtags, start by paying close attention to what influencers in your niche are using. If you’re not sure who these influencers are, have a look at competitors, industry news sources, bloggers and YouTube stars in your industry. You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to help you identify relevant content, bloggers, publications and writers. Then simply follow the top influencers and make a note of the hashtags they use most often.

Test and learn
Once you’ve decided on your hashtags, the next step is to test them out. Thankfully, all the social media platforms give you access to analytics on all your posts to help you understand how many people you reached and engaged. Did some perform better than others? If none performed particularly well, don’t worry. Treat it as a learning experience. The most effective hashtag research strategy is one that you’re continually tweaking and optimising.

Getting help
If you’ve mastered all this, great. But if you’re finding it overwhelming, don’t panic. Just call in the experts. By working with a digital marketing agency, creative agency or social media specialist you can relax knowing that all your hashtags have been carefully chosen and your digital marketing strategy is continually tested and optimised. So you can engage with your audience effectively and boost your social impact with ease.

Summary
For an effective hashtag strategy, remember to use the Goldilocks approach: don’t use too many or too few. You should also avoid hashtags that are broad or niche. Find that sweet spot. Look at the hashtags that other accounts in your industry are using. Then test them out! You can then tweak as necessary. And if you get stuck, simply ask a social media expert to help.

At TCC, we can help you with all your online marketing and advertising needs – from brand strategy to social media content and everything in between. To find out more, simply contact us.

Written by Team TCC
August 2, 2022

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