6 Tricks to Boost Your Share of Voice on Social Media

Is your brand seen as a leader in your industry? When people talk about the type of products you sell, does your company come up in the conversation? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then you might have issues with your brand’s share of voice.

With social media becoming increasingly competitive, capturing and retaining your audience’s attention is more difficult than ever. Not only that, it’s a struggle for some brands to even be heard when over 52 million photos are shared a day on Instagram and more than 7,000 Tweets are sent every second. When you throw in decreased organic reach for brands on networks like Facebook, the challenge becomes even clearer.

So with all of this against you, what can your brand do to get more visibility and capture your audience’s attention? Read on to learn how to increase your share of voice on social media.

What is Share of Voice?

Share of voice measures the amount of the conversation your brand owns with your target audience compared to your competitors. It’s kind of a tricky metric since not every brand measures it exactly the same. On social, some brands look at share of voice as the amount of social media messages shared about your brand, in relation to all of your competitors.

But you can also look at share of voice around a specific keyword or hashtag. For instance, a hotel chain might measure what percentage of social media messages involving the keyword “hotels” that contain its brand name compared to the percentage that mention competitors. Ideally, the hotel chain would want to have a larger share of voice for hotel-related keywords than its competitors because it’s a sign that consumers are more aware of them than competitors.

Traditionally, share of voice is referenced in regards to paid advertising. With paid ads, share of voice represents your brand’s share of ad space compared to the total amount available. Or in simple terms:

share of voice calculation

For the purposes of this article, we’re going focus on share of voice on social media.

How to Increase Your Share of Voice on Social Media

Now that you understand what share of voice is, how do you improve it? Here are six tactics you can use to increase your brand’s share of voice on social media:

1. Always Be Active (ABA)

In order to be heard on social media, you need to be active. There’s no way around it.

If you only Tweet once a day or post to Instagram once a week, you’re going to get overlooked and forgotten. All of the major social networks have millions of active users sharing content, engaging and browsing them every day. Your brand has to compete with all of that and cut through the noise. The only way to do that is to be active on a consistent basis.

Start by creating a social media calendar that outlines all of your planned content for the month. You don’t have to include every single post you plan to make. The goal is to schedule content that needs to go out on specific dates (campaigns or special holidays) as well as content curated from your own site.

Calendar Month View Inline Actions

This will allow you to fill content gaps and give you the ability to share content around the clock. The last thing you want is for your audience to go long periods of time without hearing from you. Because even if you aren’t posting, there’s a strong chance one of your competitors is, which gives them more room to grow their share of voice.

2. Engage, Don’t Broadcast

Being active doesn’t mean you should just make a bunch of promotional posts every day. A common misconception for brands is that social media is just a content distribution channel. That’s far from the case.

Social media is an opportunity to engage and interact with your audience. Consumers know this, but it sometimes gets lost among brands. As a result, there’s often a disconnect between brand activity and consumer expectations. For instance, one of our surveys found that 89% of messages to brands go completely ignored. And when brands actually respond, they aren’t doing it as quickly as consumers expect.

peoples wait time expectations vs brand response time

So how does this relate back to your brand’s share of voice?

It shows the power of engaging with your audience. Whether it’s responding to upset customers, thanking a follower for sharing UGC or any other type of engagement, it all improves brand likability and gets people talking about your brand. Our data found that 45% of consumers will post about a positive interaction if a brand responds well to their complaints on social media. And 37% will share their story with their friends online.

consumer reaction if a brand responds well to their social complaint

That translates to an increase in positive conversations about your brand on social, and a larger share of voice.

You can use a social media management tool like Sprout Social to make sure any incoming messages don’t get overlooked. One advantage of using Sprout is we display all of your incoming messages, including messages containing specific hashtags, in a single stream. That saves you the time and hassle of switching between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reply to your audience. And after you’ve responded, just mark the message as complete so everyone on your team knows it has been taken care of.

smart inbox collision detection

Check out this case study to see how Trello uses Sprout to respond to 97% of Tweets within 24 hours!

3. Create Share-Worthy Content

One of the best ways to get people talking about your brand is to create share-worthy content. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other network, sharing industry related content can boost your share of voice.

By sharing tips, news and other content about your industry, people will start to seek more of that type of content from you, and share it as well. Not to mention, you have the potential to make a piece of content go viral if you can hit a home run with a specific post or campaign.

Take the viral sensation Salt Bae for instance. While you probably know it as a funny meme, do you know how it originally started? It was actually a play on another meme trend. Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe sent this Tweet from his restaurant’s Twitter Handle.

saltbae tweet

As you can see, the Tweet caught on and started driving massive engagement. That prompted the chef to post it on Instagram as well, and it went on to become the viral sensation we all know today.

With his increased share of voice, Gökçe turned his viral hit into business growth because demand for his food started to grow as the meme took off.

4. Push Conversations to Social

Do people leave comments on your brand’s blog posts? Do customers prefer to call and email you for customer service? Rather than having these conversations happen on multiple platforms, why not train your audience to head to social media to contact your brand first.

Not only will it help keep you organized, but it increases your brand’s share of voice since there are more conversations and mentions of your brand on social. Plus, our data showed that customers actually prefer to talk to brands on social more than any other channel.

peoples top choice for customer care

One way to get your customers to go to social rather than email or phone support is to make it clear on your website. Highlight benefits to contacting you on social such as faster response times, easy communication or even getting quick answers with chatbots.

5. Don’t Focus on Just Social

Increasing your brand’s share of voice doesn’t stop at social media. You can use every marketing channel to help out:

  • Get mentioned in major publications and referenced around the web to spark conversations about your brand on social.
  • Use SEO to get your content on the first page of Google and get more visibility.
  • Run paid ads to boost brand awareness.

The more you can integrate all of your marketing channels, the larger impact you can make on your brand’s overall share of voice. Start by laying out all of the channels you have available to you. That includes:

  • Email
  • Your website
  • Search ads
  • Media buys
  • All your social channels

Then, you can start to craft campaigns that involve each channel. For instance, you might create a blog post and make a downloadable guide to go along with it. Then you promote that blog post and guide to your email list and with search ads to spread the word.

Assuming the content you created is useful and relevant to your audience, and your promotion strategy is well implemented, chatter about your brand should start to grow.

social media analytics banner

6. Lead Industry Conversations

When building your share of voice, participating in existing conversations is important. But if you really want to be looked at as an industry leader and boost your share of voice, you need to lead the conversations. You can do that through building and feeding your own communities on social through Twitter chats, Facebook Groups or even niche forums.

For instance, today Simple Green Smoothies is known as one of the top health blogs in the world and is a full-blown media company. And it all started with their focus around building a community. Thanks to their community, Simple Green Smoothies arguably has the largest share of voice around the web when it comes to healthy green smoothies. In fact, the hashtag #simplegreensmoothies has been used over 50,000 times on Instagram alone.

simplegreensmoothies instagram hashtag

At Sprout, we have #SproutChat, which is a weekly Twitter Chat where we talk about topics relevant to social media managers. By facilitating these conversations, we’ve built trust and authority in the social media marketing space and increased our share of voice on industry-related topics.

The key is to find relevant topics your audience is passionate about. Otherwise people won’t be compelled enough to join in on the conversation. For example, one of our past #SproutChats was about how to handle a social media crisis. This is a topic most social media managers can relate to, so they’re more than happy to share their tips and advice.

You’ll also notice that participants use our branded hashtag (#SproutChat) when they Tweet. That helps our social and communications team monitor how well received each chat is, as well as how much the chat grows over time. All of this is easily trackable with our social listening report.

twitter listening report

Start Increasing Your Share of Voice

How much share of voice does your brand have in your industry? Do you lead the conversation, or blend in with the competition? Increase your market share and become the go-to brand in your industry by using the tactics above.

This post 6 Tricks to Boost Your Share of Voice on Social Media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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The 5 Best Social Media Listening Tools for 2018

Too many brands treat social media like their own personal soapbox. They invest all their energy preaching to their customers, but don’t spend enough time listening. Fewer than one out of four businesses actively listen to their followers on social media.

Many brands are starting to recognize the error of their ways. They recognize that there are lots of great social media listening tools that they can use to their advantage. Here are five of the best.

1. SentiOne

SentiOne is a newer social listening tool that is used by over 2,000 brands in nearly three dozen countries. There are three different service tiers, so you will need to decide which one is best for your business.

The most basic plan allows you to track keywords, users, mentions and recent updates in real-time. You can also track historical data for up to six months. If you want to track data for over a year, offer access to more than one user, or follow more than one market, then you will need to choose one of the other plans. You can get your feet wet with their 14-day trial.

Here are some of the main features:

• Data can be collected from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, news aggregators, opinion websites, and blogs.
• You can measure the reach of your messages on any given day.
• You can see results in 24 languages.
• You can monitor campaigns at different levels, including category, competition, consumers and communication.
• Advanced consumer and workflow management filters can be used.

Many marketing experts have spoken highly of SentiOne. If you run a small or medium-sized business, you may benefit from it as well.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite brands itself as a centralized platform to manage all of your social media accounts. While most people use Hootsuite for its schedule and content optimization tools, it also has a very sophisticated social monitoring platform.

Hootsuite has a number of great functions that make social listening easy and efficient. You can monitor social networks by keyword or location. You can also set up an unlimited number of social media streams. Hootsuite provides a great blog post, along with a couple of video tutorials on setting up social listening campaigns on their platform.

Before you choose a tool and dig into the nitty-gritty work of social media listening, you’ll need to determine what you should actually listen for. The exact keywords and topics you monitor will likely evolve over time as you learn (from social listening) what language people use when they talk about your business and what sorts of insights are most useful for your business.

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a popular social media management tool that has some excellent social listening features, such as:

• You can track specific keywords related to your industry or business. The easiest way to follow social media discussions of your brand is to use your company name.
• You can generate visual reports on every keyword you are tracking.
• You can subscribe to real-time alerts on hashtags.
• You can integrate inbound message tagging in your social media campaigns.

Over 19,000 brands depend on Sprout Social, so you can trust their social listening tools to deliver the data you need.

4. Talk Walker

Many other social listening tools aggregate data from a handful of social media platforms. Talk Walker extracts data from over 150 million websites, including over a dozen of the most popular social networking sites. This makes it one of the most comprehensive social media listening tools in the world.

Another great feature of Talk Walker is its ability to track conversations in nearly 190 different languages. This feature makes it ideal for global businesses that serve multilingual markets.

5. Conversocial

Conversocial brands itself as a “customer engagement solution as advanced as your customer.” It is a lesser known social listening tool, but many top brands depend on it, including Google, Hyatt, Hertz and Tesco.

Conversocial allows you to collect data on customers from multiple platforms on both mobile and desktop devices. The tool is designed to bring marketers into discussions with their customers and help them be more proactive with their responses.

Use the Right Social Listening Tools to Run Your Business

Social listening plays a key role in any social media marketing campaign. Fortunately, there are a lot of great tools at your disposal. Make sure you understand the nuances of these tools and use them properly to gain access to the social media data you need to optimize your marketing strategy.

The post The 5 Best Social Media Listening Tools for 2018 appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

Officials turn to social media in the face of Hurricane Irma

With two massive hurricanes having devastated the southeastern border of the United States and the Caribbean, government officials and crisis responders have accepted social media as a reality when it comes to real-time communication and information delivery — and it may be saving lives. Just two weeks ago, the US Coast Guard urged East Texas citizens to stay off social media, and to report their crises via the more traditional method of calling 911 or similar emergency numbers. But now it looks like it’s come around to the idea that social media might be the fastest way to disseminate storm…

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Social Media – The Next Web

Parents, social media isn’t turning your kids into robots

Most parents have concerns about their kid’s social media usage, but they shouldn’t worry about their brain cells frying. Under the hoodー kids are using social to better themselves. Kids are running their own profitable slime businesses on Instagram, honing their dancing skills on musical.ly, showcasing their artistic talents on YouTube, and so much more. Social media is this generation’s social currency Parents always complain about their kid’s way of socializing. When kids DM their friends, parents tell them to use the phone. When girls used the phone to talk their boyfriends for hours, parents moaned about the sentiment of a…

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Social Media – The Next Web

2017’s social media landscape in one stunning infographic


Social media, once the name we gave for a platform like Facebook, has become quite difficult to define. Even Facebook and Twitter don’t typically refer to themselves as social networks — at least not exclusively that. 

A newly released infographic might just help us grasp the social media landscape: “The Conservation Prism 5.0.” 

Brian Solis, an author and digital analyst at Altimeter Group, first launched the aptly-named “Conversation Prism” back in 2008. His project — designed with creative agency JESS3 — covered the streets of Austin, Texas during South by Southwest that year and continues to be a popular reference among marketers.  Read more…

More about Business, Marketing, Social Media, Brian Solis, and Business

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Why Link Building and Social Media Go Hand in Hand

When it comes to thinking about search engine ranking, social media isn’t something that comes directly to mind. After all, Google has made it perfectly clear that it doesn’t use the amount of Facebook or Twitter followers as part of its ranking algorithm.

There are, however, a number of crossovers between the two that every marketer should be aware of. To help you to grasp the concept of link building and how it relates to SEO, we’ve come up with a simple FAQ, below:

What is Link Building?

To put it simply, link building is the process of acquiring links back to your own website from a reputable source.

As Google uses ‘followed links’ as one of its three main search engine ranking factors, the popularity of link building has grown substantially over recent years.

The key to successful link building is finding a website that is both willing to link back to your content and that is deemed to be a reputable domain by Google. It’s strictly a quality over quantity approach.

Why is it Important?

With less than 10% of people advancing to page two on Google’s search results, the amount of traffic a website gets is largely dependent on its search engine ranking.

While website traffic doesn’t always correspond to big business, it does guarantee brand awareness and can make your website more attractive to potential advertisers.

Does Link Building Ever Occur Naturally?

Yes. If you’re producing newsworthy or interesting content, other websites and bloggers will naturally do the link building work for you.

There are, however, many circumstances where companies will work together in a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ approach. Many higher ranking domain websites, for example, can charge lower ranking domains to have a link featured on their site.

If you lack the know-how on what sort of websites to approach, a marketing or a specialized link building agency  may be able to do much of the PR-related ground work on your behalf.

What Role can Social Media Play?

As we mentioned before, Google’s search engine algorithm doesn’t directly take into account the number of followers you may have on Instagram or Twitter. It does, however, take an active interest in the amount of traffic that visits your site.

If the content you’re producing on your social media channels links back to your own site in some shape or form, you’re already carrying out some form of link building.

How can I use Social Media in my Link Building Strategy?

Reaching out to bloggers over social media is a great way to enter into the world of link building. Many will already be aware of the concept of ‘guest blogging’, where one company creates content with a link back to their own website for the blogger to post on their site in return for a small fee. Your job will be to convince the blogger that your website has some correlation to the content they regularly feature on their blog/site.

Any content that you do post on your social media channels should also be geared up for sharing. Quizzes tend to perform best on Facebook while articles that are 3,500-4,000 words in length are most likely to be shared on LinkedIn. Interestingly, content that is related to success, productivity, and entrepreneurship is most likely to be shared on both LinkedIn and Twitter. By reaching a greater audience, your website is much more likely to receive larger amounts of traffic, which in turn will improve your search engine ranking.

The post Why Link Building and Social Media Go Hand in Hand appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

Why You Need A Content Marketing Strategy For Your Blog And Social Media Posts

In today’s digital marketing landscape, a growing number of social media platforms and channels are competing for a limited number of marketing resources. Many brands are realizing that they can’t have an active presence across every single platform, and that they need to be strategic in how they create content for different channels. That’s why you need a content marketing strategy for your blog and social media posts.

Create one unified brand identity

In the rush to create new content for social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just creating as much content as possible, and waiting to see what “pops.” The basic thinking here is that, if you create enough Facebook, Twitter and Instagram content, something is going to go viral sooner or later.

The problem here, though, is that you might be creating the wrong content for the wrong customer. Or, you might be spreading your resources so thin that you are no longer staying true to your overall brand identity.

Say, for example, you are a brand that prides itself on having a customer-centric focus and responding to all customer inquiries quickly and professionally. So what happens when you’re failing to check your Twitter feed, and a long string of customer requests are being left unanswered? That reflects negatively on your brand.

Stay on schedule

Creating a content marketing strategy can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like. For example, some brands actually come up with a content calendar, where they think several weeks ahead about the type of content that they would like to post. This helps to keep everybody on the team updated on what type of content will be appearing soon, and helps to ensure a smooth, integrated marketing strategy.

But you don’t need a formal calendar to make a content marketing strategy work. All you need is a basic framework about how often you are creating content. For example, 1 Facebook update per day, 2 tweets per day, and 1 Instagram photo every Friday. This makes it possible for different members of the team to handle social media responsibilities, without wondering: What in the world am I supposed to post today?

Boost your ROI

Yes, social media has an ROI, just like any other form of marketing. And that’s where a content marketing strategy can help you generate the highest possible return. As part of any content marketing strategy, you’ll determine certain basic metrics — such as the number of new followers or the level of engagement — you can track. Then, over time, you can see how much you are moving the needle on these metrics. If you are seeing your Facebook followers “stuck” at a certain number, which might be a real clue that either you’re not updating the page enough or you’re posting content that’s not resonating with customers.

By setting up a content marketing strategy, you’ll have real insights into the performance of your social media campaigns. And, best of all, you won’t wake up one morning to find out that one of your team members stayed up late last night, firing off a series of tweets that are completely off-brand.

Accountability in marketing means one thing: can you deliver on what you promised? Get this Guide to Advertising Accountability to see how revenue accountability can cut marketing costs by reducing waste and dramatically improving your ROI.

Guide to Advertising Accountability

This article originally appeared on Social Media HQ

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Russian spies seduce soldiers on social media

The Russian woman sent to seduce a military official/infiltrate Western society is not exactly a new trope. James Bond tangled with at least three such characters that I can remember. But now they’ve apparently moved from bars serving vodka martinis to Facebook. According to a report by Politico, Russian spies befriend soldiers on social media, posing as beautiful women. They can then either get in touch with the soldiers directly, or ‘seduce’ them with propaganda, in series of phishing attacks designed to either gain information or sew sympathy. Social media in general is another problem the intelligence community tackles. Discretion is…

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Social Media – The Next Web

How to Hire the Perfect Social Media Intern

The process of finding the right person for the right job isn’t always the easiest task. But there’s a few ways to make this process much easier. Let’s jump into the exciting possibilities of social media advertising.

The ubiquity of the Internet also means that ads are now unavoidable. Chances are that most social media marketing interns are pretty young. As a result, you have a population of interns who are very savvy with technology and all its uses.

Again, if you’re a company looking to hire a social media intern, the time has never been better.

The Rise of Social Media

Technology advances. We see these advances everywhere, from the evolution of the cassette to the CD-ROM and finally to the USB drive.

Advertising efforts develop in the same way. Before, you had magazines and newspapers offering columns or pages to companies. Now, you have ads coming out of the woodwork every time your browse the Internet.

With the popularity of social media, it’s no surprise that ads have caught onto that platform as well.

The Social Media Intern

Accept it: ads are here to stay. But the prevalence of Internet ads has  created a new category of jobs. People who specialize in creating those ads!

Social media is so expansive and unique. Each platform demands unique strategies for success. For instance, Facebook uses a popular liking and commenting system to measure user engagement.

Reddit is community-oriented, meaning user created content dominates. Twitter is allows for users to fire pithy, entertaining replies at each other.

Less popular sites usually get the short end of the stick. Their strategies usually center around incredibly annoying and distracting popups. Clumsy conversion efforts to recruit users appear frequently as well.

So where does the social media intern fall into this grand scheme of Internet advertising? It’s pretty straightforward actually. They just help come up with trending ideas and strategies to take advantage of the banal browsing tendencies of the masses.

Identifying The Ideal Social Media Intern

If you want your social media campaigns to be successful, you better keep an eye out for talented social influencers.

Social influencers is a bit vague, but what it means is someone who knows their way around the group. Let’s take a look at a brief profile of the types of people best suited as influencers on social media platforms.


Facebook revolves around likes, comments, and shares. You can characterize this as a site that allows the users to express and spread opinions. The unique aspect to this is the exclusivity that’s inherent in Facebook. Normally, you’ll have to be a friend or a member to access inner circles.

If you’re looking for someone to be the linchpin of your Facebook campaign, you’ll want to make sure they’re familiar with all of the basic features of the site. Their success relies on their ability to infiltrate certain groups and gradually influence the opinions of those group members. Another role these marketing interns might play could revolve around dealing with the reviews and online presence of a particular company on Facebook.


Twitter less personal and more to the point in comparison to Facebook. Users usually have short, witty exchanges with each other and liberally express their viewpoints through tweets. The limit on words you can make in a tweet has created this culture.

Social media interns specializing in dealing with Twitter debacles should be quick-witted and observant of popular trends. Being able to have a sense of your company’s informal perception by the public is an important feature of Twitter and a reasonable skill for an intern to have.


Even though Instagram is closely associated with Facebook, it’s social culture is entirely different. In this case, vanity essentially fuels Instagram’s popularity. It’s the premier platform to show yourself off: whether you’re an attractive girl, a rich guy, or simply some guy living it up.


If you’re looking for a well-rounded social media intern, they should be well-versed with Instagram. Instagram is a hotbed for under the table promotions and endorsements. Having the know-how and skill required to navigate through the site and connect with characters relevant to your businesses should be part of your potential intern’s skill set.

All in all, social media is a fast evolving platform that requires marketers that are familiar participants in order to ensure better chances at successful marketing campaigns.

The post How to Hire the Perfect Social Media Intern appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network

It’s probably not a stretch to assume that most people are familiar with the basic idea of hashtags. But knowing of a concept is certainly not the same as understanding it. As such, it’s important to set the record straight regarding how to use hashtags properly, respective of the platform in which they’re used.

From a user standpoint, hashtags are used to categorize content, making the discovery of new or related articles and insights easy to do. Therefore, when hashtags are used incorrectly, people looking for new content have to dig through irrelevant, miscategorized content in order to get to what they’re actually looking for. You don’t want this bad user experience associated with your brand!

Categorization aside, when used inappropriately, hashtags can have a negative impact on your engagement. For instance, TrackMaven found that Tweets using more than two hashtags see a significant drop in engagement.

twitter hashtag engagement study

The results are similar for Facebook hashtags.

facebook hashtag engagement study

However, on Instagram, the story is a little different. The more hashtags you use, the more engagement you see. However, after about 10 hashtags, you risk losing out on some of that engagement.

instagram hashtag engagement study

Needless to say, hashtags are a lot more beneficial when you know what you’re doing. But before getting into the in’s and out’s of how to use hashtags, here’s a brief history of their inception:

What Are Hashtags?

Let’s start with the simple definition:

hash·tag: A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.

Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other users. Once someone clicks on that hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page that aggregates all of the posts with the same hashtags, in real-time.

Once a keyword picks up enough momentum, it becomes “trending.” But trending isn’t always a matter of becoming the most popular hashtag on the networks. Each user’s trending topics are unique, based on their location, social connections and interests.

Though each network has its own way of displaying posts under a certain hashtag, and their own algorithms for specifying trending content, these rules tend to hold true in general across each social channel.

Where Did Hashtags Come From?

The first use of a hashtag in social media can be traced back to one man. Chris Messina is a former Google employee who worked in developer relations and as a designer on Google+.

He’s been officially credited as the first person who tweeted using a hashtag. This famous tweet happened back in 2007, so it took awhile for the practice to catch on.

As we can clearly see a decade later, hashtags are indisputably here to stay.

How to Use Hashtags

The word “hashtag” was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2010, and the Scrabble dictionary in 2014, some of the highest authorities on what defines a real word.

According to a study by social media agency RadiumOne, almost 75% of people on social media use hashtags. Of course, the number of people who know how to use hashtags correctly is significantly smaller.

Using a hashtag on a social post is really as simple as adding the # sign before a single word or phrase, without spaces or punctuation. You can also include numbers in your hashtags as well. Typing out a hashtag is simple enough, but there are some subtle nuances you should learn to get the most out of them.

Hashtag Basics

Here are a few quick rules for how to use hashtags:

  • If you’re using hashtags for their intended purpose (categorization and discovery), don’t string too many words together with a single hashtag.
  • On most networks, if you use a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag can find your post.
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Avoid over-tagging a single post or adding them to every word.
  • Tweets with hashtags had 2 times more engagement than those without, and 55% more Retweets.
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic. Trying to get attention by using a mismatch between the content of your Tweet and hashtag use won’t do you any favors if people are annoyed.

Don’t underestimate the power of understanding how to use hashtags to join in on conversations, such as:

  • Events and conferences (#WorldCup)
  • Holidays or celebrations #WorldPizzaDay)
  • Popular culture topics (#GameofThrones)
  • Popular hashtags for days of the week (#TBT)
  • General interest topics (#blogging)

While jumping in on trending conversations is recommended, be careful to tread lightly—especially when using a brand account to respond to a disaster. People have mixed feelings in terms of how a company should show their support for disaster victims. As a general rule, whatever you do, don’t use these types of conversations as a blatant sales opportunity.

For an added level of timeliness, look through daily trends and our Hashtag Holiday Calendar for conversations to jump on in real time.

hashtag holiday calendar

How to Execute Hashtag Research

Just as with incorporating keywords into content to boost search engine rankings, a social media marketer must do hashtag research to optimize their content for the most relevant audience.

Due to the popularity of hashtags on social media, there are a number of tools you can use to assist in your search for the perfect hashtag:

  • Hashtagify.me is a free tool you can use to find hashtags. It also gives numeric data on hashtag use and helps you to map a hashtag in relation to other similar options.
  • RiteTag is a powerful hashtag search tool you can use for Facebook and Twitter. It provides up-to-date data as to how your hashtag is performing.
  • Sprout Social has a hashtag analysis tool that discovered your most engaged and relevant hashtags around your brand. Additionally, our tool can be used as a hashtag finder across networks.

Besides these useful tools, there’s a simple low-tech strategy for finding hashtags. Look through similar accounts, see what hashtags they’re using, and click through to see how other accounts are using those hashtags. This is an easy way to find hidden gems that may not show up on searches through the above tools.

Discover and Track Hashtags CTA

Building a Hashtag Strategy

If you take one thing away from this guide on how to use hashtags, let it be this: make your hashtags specific to the audience you’re trying to attract. The more targeted the audience, the more engaged they will be, and the better your content will be received.

Besides using popular (and relevant) hashtags, you may eventually decide to create and use a branded hashtag. A branded hashtag is a hashtag you create specifically for your brand. As an example, consider #ImLovinIt for McDonald’s.

A branded hashtag does not have to contain your brand name, just represent it in some clear and connected way. A subset of brand hashtags include product hashtags, which are specific to products that belong to the scope of a specific brand. Here’s an example of Samsung using #GalaxyS8 to promote its new phone.

There are also campaign specific hashtags, which are created for a specific marketing campaign. The shoe brand Tom’s uses #withoutshoes to coincide with their campaign to raise awareness for children throughout the world that don’t have shoes.

Although it’s hard to stop people from incorrectly using your branded hashtags, you can actually trademark your branded hashtags. In order for them to resonate with your audience, branded hashtags must be relevant, memorable and unique.

Be careful about being too general. It’s much better to get as specific as possible, even if it feels like you’ll have less reach. For example, a brand targeting new parents might not want to just use the hashtag #parent, because it’s very broad. Instead, the brand would be better off using the hashtag #newmom, which more accurately targets their intended audience.

On a serious note, when creating your own hashtags, spelling is important. For example, you might read the hashtag for Susan Boyle’s album launch party, #susanalbumparty as something much different than what was intended. Even just capitalizing the first letter of each word can help to differentiate the individual words in a hashtag, and can help you to avoid a PR disaster.

Hashtag for Each Specific Social Platform

Most social networks started using hashtags after Twitter first accepted their use, and each social network uses them differently. These rules can help keep you honest relative to the platforms you’re using for your company’s social media strategy.

How to Use Twitter Hashtags

On Twitter, hashtags are used to find conversations to get involved in, or to start one of your own. As long as your profile is public, people can find the posts in which you make use of hashtags.

As we mentioned earlier, Tweets with one hashtag generate the most engagement. But engagement drops when you use more than two hashtags. This may be because people assume too many hashtags indicates foul play by bots (or desperation, as discussed earlier).

You can find hashtags on Twitter by using the search bar, clicking on the hashtag or looking through the trending topics page.

How to Use Instagram Hashtags

An Instagram hashtag collates all photos with the same hashtag into one stream. The purpose of hashtags for Instagram revolves around discovering content and finding users to follow, exposing you to a larger audience. One study found that posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.

instagram hashtag usage top brands

You can discover hashtags by searching for a specific term or clicking on one in a post. When you land on a hashtag page, you’ll see all the photos with the same hashtag and even see some related hashtags you can use. Start typing the hashtag with the “#” symbol, and Instagram will give you suggestions based on popularity.

There have been multiple studies on the optimal number of hashtags to use on Instagram. Since the results tend to vary, there is no universally agreed upon number. We recommend testing it out to see what gets the best results with your audience. Just keep in mind Instagram limits hashtags to 30 per caption or comment.

How to Use Facebook Hashtags

Unlike Twitter or Instagram where most users’ profiles are public, Facebook users have private profiles. Thus, the hashtags most people use on their posts are not discoverable to the public and are therefore limited to the people they know. Because of this, most public hashtags belong to influencers or brands.

Here’s how to discover hashtags and related content on Facebook:

  • Click on a hashtag to see related posts
  • Search using the search bar. Hashtags on Facebook previously were not recognized, but now they are.

If you use hashtags on Facebook, keep it to 1-2 hashtags per post per the study we mentioned earlier. It’s also worth noting that hashtags with 10+ characters receive good engagement.

facebook hashtag length for engagement

How to Use LinkedIn Hashtags

LinkedIn is one of the latest major social networks to experiment with hashtags. As of this writing, they only work on mobile (in terms of linking to related content), and as such, look a bit strange on desktop.

How to Use Tumblr Hashtags

When you’re creating a post on your Tumblr page, you’ll see an area at the bottom asking you to add “tags.” When you start to type a tag for your post, Tumblr will automatically add a hashtag to the front of it.

How to Use Pinterest Hashtags

The main thing that you need to bear in mind when creating hashtags on Pinterest is that they’re only clickable in a Pin description. Also, hashtags aren’t searchable on Pinterest, so you’ll need to just search the keyword to find the content.

How to Use YouTube Hashtags

Hashtag use within YouTube is most prevalent in the comments section. Users can leave comments with hashtags, which will then click through to a page with videos that contain that hashtag in their title. However, it’s perhaps more important to implement a keyword strategy since hashtags are not widely adopted by users yet.

How to Use Kickstarter Hashtags

On Kickstarter, sorting by different hashtags can make it easier for you to find projects that peak your interest or plans for investment.

Other Social Networks

These aren’t the only platforms that use hashtags though. Here are a few other social networks that use hashtags that you may not have thought of:

  • Flickr
  • GitHub
  • Google+

When determining how to use hashtags, make sure to do some platform-specific research to determine if a hashtag strategy is even appropriate.

Hashtag Tracking & Analytics

When you’re researching hashtags to use to engage with your audience, it’s also beneficial to consider your audience. Find the keywords and hashtags that are already associated with your brand, and adopt the positive ones. With resources like Sprout Social’s Twitter Listening Report, it’s easy to find out exactly which terms are being associated with your brand most often.

twitter listening report

Not only are tools like these good for finding new things to tweet about, they’re good for seeing how well your tweets are performing, in general. Easily track Retweets, favorites, social reach and more. The more time you spend analyzing your efforts, the easier they are to improve, and the closer you’ll come to achieving important social media KPIs.

How Do You Use Hashtags?

Though each network has their own rules and guidelines, understanding the basics of how to use hashtags is an important area of understanding for your social media strategy. Hashtags can help you to communicate with followers, drive engagement for your content, and attract a new audience to your brand.

What are your greatest insights for how to use hashtags? Is there an awesome tool or strategy we missed? Tweet your thoughts at @SproutSocial or drop a comment below!

This post How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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