There’s a lot more to hashtags than just the @Midnight game.
While just about every comic at this point has at least occasionally participated in the popular Comedy Central show’s hashtag wars game, the reality is there are a lot of other ways you can use hashtags on various social media platforms to further your career.
Here’s a breakdown of five simple things you should keep in mind when you use hashtags that will hopefully help you see some new opportunities for how you can use them to attract new fans, better promote your creations, and get more from your social media efforts.
1. Use Hashtags You Think People Will Search For Or Follow
The most common mistake people make when it comes to hashtags is they don’t necessarily understand how a hashtag can actually get their post in front of more people.
While everybody understands that posting about trending topics will get your tweets in front of a larger audience, that’s not the only way to leverage a hashtag to get in front of an audience.
When you’re going to use a hashtag on a post, you want to think about what kinds of hashtags other people are likely to search for and use those. That’s the key to getting additional exposure for your tweets beyond your usual followers.
Typically, the types of hashtags that people will search for revolve around broad topics tied to specific niche interests, professions, or specific things like sports teams, TV shows, etc. So those will also be the best ones for you to use.
For example, let’s say you tweet a joke about parenting. Using #parenting will likely serve you better than something like #funny because it’s more likely that people are following the parenting hashtag than the funny one – and also because somebody who does search the parenting hashtag is more likely to enjoy your post than somebody who searches for funny because that’s a much broader interest.
It’s worth experimenting with different hashtags to see which ones work best for you on different types of posts, but the key is to try to use hashtags that people search for because those will get you the most value.
If you want some help finding hashtags that are frequently used, here’s a tool you may want to check out.
2. Don’t Just Use Comedy-Related Hashtags
Just because you’re posting something funny, that doesn’t mean your hashtag has to be comedy-related. In fact, in most cases you’ll be better served to focus your hashtags on the topics your comedy is about as opposed to the fact that it’s comedy.
This ties back to my first point in that if you think about who is searching for comedy-related hashtags, it’s most likely other comedians. By comparison, the people searching for non-comedy hashtags are more likely to be potential fans who are interested in whatever topics you’re talking about.
3. More Hashtags = More Attention On Instagram
As a general rule, the more hashtags you use on an Instagram post, the more attention it will get. Using hashtags on Instagram is one of the best ways to get discovered on the platform so don’t be afraid to use a lot of them.
Also, since Instagram has no character limit the way Twitter does, you can really load up on the hashtags. It might seem a little obnoxious, but it works – as long as you use relevant hashtags.
Another tip is that you can post your Instagram hashtags as a comment on your post as opposed to in the original post caption. This can be a little cleaner because your comment will essentially be hidden once you get a few other comments on the post and you’ll still get the value of using the hashtags because hashtags register in Instagram’s search function whether they’re in a comment or caption.
4. Create A Unique Hashtag For Your Content
In addition to using hashtags that people search for, you can also create your own unique hashtag as a way to connect some of your content together over time. Specifically, by creating a hashtag that’s unique to your stuff, it gives people who discover one piece of your content and easy way to click the hashtag and see other related content.
For example, let’s say you do a series of YouTube videos that feature you ranting about your latest dating experience. Whenever you share an episode or anything related to the series on social media you could use a custom hashtag such as #MyCrazyDates.
This way, when somebody comes across one of your episodes for the first time and likes it, they can click that hashtag and easily see the rest of the series without having to switch platforms, Google it, or track it down elsewhere.
Creating a unique hashtag for your content is a great way to tie things together and make it easy for people who like what they see to quickly discover more of it.
This is something I’m currently doing for my Person You Should Know site with the hashtag #APersonYouShouldKnow.
5. Use Hashtags To Find New Fans
Here’s a spin on the advice I’ve given you up to this point. As opposed to using hashtags to help people to discover you and your work, you can use them to help you find new potential fans.
Specifically, you can use Twitter or Instagram’s search functionality to search hashtags relevant to the content you create and find other people who are posting using those hashtags. It’s an easy way to identify people who are interested in what you’re interested in and a great way to find communities that you can become a part of.
That doesn’t mean you should immediately tweet links promoting your stuff to those people, but rather look for conversations around those hashtags that you can jump in to and add value. Use hashtag searches as a way to find people you can have genuine interactions with that can start to build a relationship.
For example, if you’re blogging then you may want to search for #blogchat where you’ll find a community of other bloggers who are discussing their challenges and suggestions. It’s easy to become a part of that community by joining that conversation in an authentic way.
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