How To Use Hashtags To Reach Your Target Audience

several hashtag symbols

How To Use Hashtags To Reach Your Target Audience

Hashtags are a great way to help people discover your content on social media. Like all elements of social media marketing, the more thought you put into how you use them, the more effective they can be. Let’s look at some ways you can use hashtags to reach your target audience.

The Hashtag – Explained

Hashtags were first used on Twitter, but they’ve now spread to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and beyond. You can add a hashtag to the text of almost any post by using a # symbol followed by a word or phrase with no spaces. Like #recipe or #digitalmarketing. With this strategy, people who are not already following you can still find your content.

When hashtags are used appropriately, they assist people who are interested in your content find it – increasing the amount of engagement it will receive and helping you build an audience. They can also be used to follow the conversation around a particular event. You often see people appending hashtags to their posts about football matches or TV shows as they watch them – to help other users follow along as they watch it.

Tips For Using Hashtags

Hashtags can have a big impact on how easy it is to discover your content and how many people it will reach. Here are some tips to make sure you are using them in the most efficient and impactful way. 

  • Don’t go overboard with hashtags. The number of hashtags that can be used varies depending on the platform, but in most circumstances, using two or three hashtags can have a greater influence than using thirty of them. Posts with too many hashtags can look spammy and may even be punished by some platforms’ algorithms if they suspect you are using hashtags which are irrelevant. 
  • Hashtags should be one to three words long. the longer a hashtag is, the less likely anyone is to ever search for it. You should also choose a hashtag that is clear and concise, don’t try to be too clever or use an obscure word or phrase. 
  • Use specific hashtags rather than broad ones. #shoes is way too broad, #womensshoes is better but still a bit general, #womenssandals is more refined. Very broad phrases are unlikely to be searched, and if you employ them, your content will likely be lost in a sea of irrelevant information.
  • Only use a hashtag if it is relevant and necessary. Never use one just for the sake of it. 
  • Hashtags can be used to study your competition as well as attract users from your target audience. You can find relevant posts relating to your topic by searching using hashtags. 
  • If your hashtag as multiple words in it, capitalise the first letter of each word. Your hashtag will still function as normal if you do not do this, but capitalising letters makes what you are trying to say clearer. 

How To Find The Right Hashtags For Social Media

There’s a fine line to be drawn between hashtags that are too broad and those which are too specific or complicated. Paying attention to which hashtags competitors and influencers within your business niche are already using is a great way to start identifying which tags are resonating with your target audience. 

Your competitors’ social media strategy is most likely already incorporating hashtags. What percentage of your target audience do they engage? Pay attention to how frequently they use hashtags, as well as how users react to them.

That said, you shouldn’t rely entirely on copying competitors. You should also try to establish your own identity – as long as the hashtags still make sense for your business.

Choosing An Effective Hashtag Strategy

Another tactic is to let trending hashtags dictate your content. But you can still plan content ahead of time. Live TV events and festive holidays are both things which are likely to generate trending hashtags. Other novelties like national days for products (like National Baked Beans Day) often lead to a lot of people posting and searching for the same hashtags. The upside of using hashtags like these in your posts is that it increases their discoverability, but the downside is that a lot of other marketers will be using the same idea and the competition will be high. 

When it comes to the hashtags to use or how to approach your plan, there are no fixed rules. Knowing your audience and spending time familiarising yourself with what works on each platform are the foundations of a successful hashtag campaign. Furthermore, by including hashtags into your social media strategy and monitoring your results, you will continue to learn what is effective for your campaign (and what isn’t). 

Hopefully, this has been a useful overview of how best to approach using hashtags in your social media marketing. If you would like help crafting a professional social media marketing campaign, speak to Carden Digital’s team today.

Dave King

Dave King

Dave King is the Co-Founder and Director of Carden Digital and the wider Carden IT Group. Dave’s background is in IT services, but he has experience across the online space. His love of all things digital lead him to create a digital marketing branch of the business, with a focus on paid advertising, SEO, web development, social media, graphic design and content writing.