This blog will tell you everything you need to know about researching and using hashtags in your social media posts in 2024.
Trust me... it's worth the 4 minute read (and worth sharing).
Best Hashtag Strategy in 2024
When researching hashtags based on any given keyword, the most important thing you can do is to think of variations of that keyword to come up with additional hashtag ideas to validate with traffic (how many posts are currently being posted using that hashtag).
But don't forget to include LSI / semantic keywords.
What are LSI / Semantic Keywords?
Semantics are basically keyword variations that all relate to your main keyword or subject.
One way you can think about LSI (latent semantic indexing) is like a ham sandwich and all the variations of each ingredient to make up that "best ham sandwich" (i.e. types of bread, types of ham, types of cheese, GF, grilled, toasted, etc).
Another way to think about LSI keywords is like a thesaurus, finding similar words.
Finally, LSI keywords can be variations of what people are actually searching for related to your term — you can do a simple Google search for that to see what kind of keywords show up in the top 5-10 results.
Questions to ask yourself to create a list of possible semantic hashtag keywords to conduct research on:
Once you create a list of semantic keywords to research, it's time to do research to create your final hashtag list.
How to Research The Best Hashtags
The best platform to conduct research to finalize your hashtag list is Instagram.
Other platforms will also show you hashtags with volume metrics. But if I had to pick one platform to do hashtag research on, it would be Instagram — it's one of the platforms that hashtags truly make an impact on increasing reach, and typically (but not always), whatever's trending on Instagram will also likely be relevant to use on other social media platforms.
After typing in a keyword in the search tab under Tags (i.e. Denton), Instagram will automatically populate related keywords that you might be looking for along with the usage volume of that hashtag.
Write down all the hashtags with over 100+ posts (if you have a niche audience you want to reach), or you can do 1,000+ posts as a minimum if you want to keep it more relevant / likely to get exposure.
When To Use Broad vs Niche Hashtags
Should you use the most popular hashtags on the list?
Short answer: Depends.
Long answer: Popular, high-volume hashtags are usually (not always) broad keywords. I would only include popular/broad hashtags IF it would directly reach your ideal customer.
If you're a local-based business: If your ideal customer is located in Denton, Texas, then use all the popular hashtags related to Denton to reach that local audience. I recommend never using broad hashtags if you are directly a localized business —
If you're an ecommerce business: If your ideal customer could purchase your products / services all over the nation or the world, then you can use more broad keywords with high volume.
If you have a niche product/service: If you offer a super nice service or product, regardless if it's offered locally or worldwide, I would only include broad hashtag if it meant reaching the right audience who is directly interested in that term to gain exposure for your niche (but related) item. For example, you might use #tshirts #tiedye #bacheloretteparty and #etsy to showcase your custom-made bleach tie dye shirts for bachelorette parties that you also sell on Etsy.
Bad Hashtag Strategy
Never, ever use irrelevant, overly broad hashtags (no matter how popular they are) if they don't specifically and deliberately reach your IDEAL customer/audience!
If a hashtag has over 100k uses, you might naturally think that will get your post more exposure and engagement. But more than likely if it's an overused hashtag, your post may get lost in the never-ending feed of others using that same hashtag — which may be just as ineffective as not using a hashtag at all. But don't just cancel it out if it's a highly relevant (especially localized) hashtag, like #Denton with over 850k posts, that would reach your ideal audience. It can't hurt to use it, only help (or have no impact at all).
Another thing to keep in mind is user intent. Just because you target people living in #Denton doesn't mean you should automatically use that hashtag. Look at the posts (including Top and Recent) to see who is posting using that hashtag. If you come to find out that most people using that hashtag are in Denton, Maryland (instead of Texas), you might not use the broad #Denton hashtag and only use #DentonTexas related hashtags instead. Or if you use #DFW for Dallas-Fort Worth but realize more people use that hashtag for "down for whatever" acronym that reaches a totally irrelevant audience.
PRO TIP: Add that finalized list of hashtags to your Notes app for easy copy-and-pasting into social posts as needed.
If you have more than 30 hashtags (the limit on Instagram posts), you can section out the list of hashtags you created based on category or post type. For example, you can section out hashtags based on location (i.e. #Denton #DentonTx #DentonTexas #DentonCounty #DowntownDenton #Den10 #Dentoning ), industry (i.e #ecommerce #ecommerceagency #ecommerceconsulting #ecomm ), service/product (i.e. #ecommercemarketing #ecommercesocialmedia ), audience type (i.e. #ecommercebusiness #ecommercecompany #ecommercebrand ), etc.