The Crystal Waddell Show: Episode 5
Let's Talk About Hashtags and How to Use them on Instagram, Facebook, Linked In and Pinterest!
Podcast 005: Hashtags
If the thought of hashtags and talk of hashtag strategies for you #stressed and #overwhelmed I’ve got some actionable items for you today! We’re going to discuss what hashtags are, how to use them on Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, AND Pinterest. Then we’ll go a little deeper to discuss a higher-level hashtag strategy for Instagram. Are you ready? Let’s go!!!
The other day I was working on my computer and I heard Asher talking about hashtags. I was like, wait, what? I was like Asher, (who is only 7, by the way!) how do you know about hashtags? I was pleasantly surprised and proud when he said, YOU talk about hashtags, mommy. But then he said, “what are hashtags, mommy?”
A great question, for sure. And one that we all seek to answer and master, #amiright? It took me forever to come to terms with the fact that the number sign had a new name. That was once across from the * of the *67 was not a “pound sign” but a “hashtag.”
Strange times for sure! But I have adapted and come to terms with all of that, as I’m sure you have, too! Anyway!
So what is a hashtag? Hashtags are a way of categorizing posts on social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, and Pinterest all utilize hashtags. And for the most part, in similar ways. We’ll discuss each of them individually in a minute.
Next question: Should I be using hashtags? The good thing about hashtags is that they allow you to join the conversations that are already happening on social media. HOWEVER. Not all conversations are created equal and you may join conversations that you didn’t mean to and then have to try and sneak out the virtual back door without anyone noticing.
For instance, when I started my social Solopreneur IG account, I was planning on sharing how I repurpose content for Collage and Wood and specifically, how to batch branded captions. The problem was that everything I was sharing had more to do with Instagram strategy: hashtags, content creation, and pillars and categories. I am writing for other small business owners like you and me but I attracted a specific niche: virtual assistants.
And it’s not that I don’t want to have conversations with virtual assistants - in fact, I would like to have more conversations with more Virtual assistants because I think there is a definite VA services bridge that could be built between ultra small business owners and success. However, ideally I would be having conversations with other small business owners who NEED virtual assistants. Does that make sense?
So it was a good lesson to learn - if I was going to attract my dream client, I needed to pivot my messaging, and my hashtags.
So let’s start with a brief summary of hashtags on each platform. I have a bonus tip for you at the end, so make sure you watch out for that!
Who: IG users use hashtags to categorize posts.
When: Most people use hashtags on every post.
Where: Most people will use hashtags at the end of the post (not so much mixed into the body text, because that gets messy.) Sometimes people will put the hashtags in the first comment. That’s usually what I do. And sometimes the second or third comments, too, if I find more hashtags that I like. I actually had someone ask me why I did that, like it was a super secret, super effective strategy execution and I had to break the truth to them that I was just finding new hashtags to use and was too lazy to delete my first posts!
Why: You want to join the conversations about your topic/product or service.
How to be the most effective: Use up to 30 hashtags that describe your image. Don’t use random hashtags. Also, try not to use hashtags that have millions of other uses - your hashtag will get lost quickly. Lastly, if you delete your hashtags and then add them back, or go back to add a hashtag to an old post, it will not give the post any recency. If that old post was made 3 months ago, than it will be filed into that hashtag group at the time of the post: 3 months ago.
Alright, let’s move to Facebook.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t utilized hashtags as much as I should on Facebook. But since I use the scheduler, one of my goals is to add two or three hashtags to each post from here on out.
I’ll jump to the “When” you should add hashtags: When you post to FB. It’s really quick and then you can move on with your life. But if you haven’t done it up to this point, you have two choices: just add a couple to each post from this point forward or edit your past posts.
Either way, you’re making your posts searchable in the future! Which is a win.
Where to add the hashtags: I add my hashtags to the end of the post. But not 30 like Instagram. Just 2-3, whatever makes sense without looking “thirsty”. I love that saying, thirsty. I don’t need a bunch of people thinking I need their “virtual water” on Facebook. I just want to join the top conversations that might be going on.
How it can work for you: Here’s an example from a couple of months ago: I make a lot of senior night gifts for athletes. So I decided to play with my go-to hashtag: Senior Night, and add #seniorday #seniorrecognition and #boosterclub - because parents in booster clubs buy my product.
This was one of the first times I chose to interact with my hashtags on Facebook and I clicked #boosterclub and or #seniornight and all of a sudden I could see past posts of people who were celebrating their kid’s final athletic year of high school or college. Right then and there I started liking those posts and commenting - and if I was smarter than I am or had more time, I would have found more hashtags that reflected my future buyers! But, as it were, I was able to touch base with a few booster clubs and add a few new opportunities to my pipeline for next year’s senior nights.
I hope that makes sense. That has been one of the most magical realizations of my hashtag experience on Facebook: it leads you right to your dream client (if their profile is public) and wow, that’s a rabbit hole of ideal client research you could fall into FOR A WHILE!
Ok, next up is Linked In.
My strategy for linked in is a lot like Facebook. My previous Linked In scheduler failed me so I’m looking for a new option. Right now I’m having to post manually to Linked In. But since I’m repurposing from IG 2 months ago, it’s not that big of a deal.
I add hashtags when I’m posting and at the end of the writing. I try to use 2-5 hashtags and spin them to reflect a more business-oriented, professional audience.
How it can work for you: This is an example from this past year as well: One of my categories for Collage and Wood is event decor. On linked in, I may use the hashtag #event decor but I’m also thinking about the hashtags that describe the people who BUY the event decor. So those people could be #meetingplanners or, as the lingo goes, #meetingprofs or #weddingplanners or #eventdesigners. If any of those people came across my post and wanted to do business with Collage and Wood, that is a powerful hashtag!
Last but DEFINITELY not least is my favorite, Pinterest.
Pinterest allows you to use up to 30 hashtags as well, but what is more powerful than hashtags on Pinterest: Keywords. My friend laughs at me because I made an 80th birthday collage and created a pin for it on Pinterest. My description read something like, “Is your mom or dad having an 80th birthday party? When planning an 80th birthday party, you need the perfect birthday decor to complement the 80th birthday cake for the 80th birthday party you are throwing. Let me know if you need help creating the perfect decor for an 80th birthday party for someone you love!”
Pretty ridiculous, right? Probably overkill but I just can’t help myself!
How it can work for you: Anyway, hashtags on Pinterest categorize posts, but they categorize the posts in CHRONOLOGICAL order. You know how I told you that you can’t go back on an Instagram post, add hashtags and have it magically pop up like it’s new? Pinterest works in a similar way. All of the posts that use hashtags will be shown in the order in which they were posted. But kind of cool. Because if someone is looking for your specific product, like a senior night number collage, and you’ve hashtagged the heck out of #seniornight, you are going to be coming up as the authority for that topic.
Ok, so that brings us to the end of this episode on hashtags. I’d love to know if you thought this conversation was helpful! Let me know by heading to the show and leaving a review and your comments/questions for The Crystal Waddell Show!
But before we leave, remember how I told you I was going to give you a bonus tip? Here are TWO:
Bonus: if you organize your hashtags by category, like I teach in my course, than you can really start interacting with them and seeing what makes the most sense for your business.
Also, I get kind of meta when I’m hashing out my own strategy. (No pun intended). But when you use hashtags, especially on Instagram, it’s important that you visit that hashtag and see what other things are popping up. You want to know what you are associating yourself with, right?
Or like Captain Sparrow would say, savvy?
So the first part of that would be: look at the other posts around yours within that hashtag. Then consider this: is this the best post for you to show up in order to reach the client that you want to buy your stuff? Or are you showing up the hashtag search that only other sellers are really using? As I’ve dived into hashtags, I’ve noticed that just like fake insta accounts (or “finstas”) there is also the hashtags that sellers use and the REAL hashtags that users/potential customers use. The “real” hashtags may not be as obvious as what you want to use (#nurserydecor vs #firsttimemama).
But if you can get a hold of one you will position your product directly in the feed of your dream client.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Crystal Waddell Show! Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time!
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