How Do You Conduct Hashtag Research?

Optimize Your Twitter Hashtag Research in 6 Steps

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Social media is a critical element of online marketing. If you’re not on several social platforms, you’ll struggle to generate the valuable outreach, sales, and conversions that platforms such as Twitter and Instagram can offer. One key aspect of brand outreach via social media is via hashtags. Often overlooked by many, hashtag research is more important to your brand’s marketing campaign than ever before. 

This article will teach you how to conduct effective Twitter hashtag research. If you’re looking for greater engagement, reachability, and overall influence of your brand, read on. 

How to Research Hashtags on Twitter

You can use hashtags to discover additional content within a social media feed. They are both vital to the future growth of any online business. Hashtags can begin trending within seconds of hitting the ‘tweet’ or ‘post’ button.

Screenshot of a tweet by Siemens featuring two key hashtags. The tweet says: "Now machines can be monitored even more efficiently thanks to the new Alarms and Conditions function for #OPCUA in #TIAPortal V17." (Example of twitter hashtag research)

If you’re looking to promote content, specifically on Twitter, hashtags are vital to the rapid growth of your brand. So, let’s look at how you can conduct effective hashtag research and use it to your business’s advantage. 

Hashtag research on Twitter isn’t always straightforward, but anyone can do it. Follow these six steps to research hashtags on Twitter. 

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1. Begin by using a root hashtag

Just like building a house, building an effective set of hashtags begins with a solid foundation. Whatever content you’re promoting, your first hashtag should be an all-encompassing topic. 

Something such as #twittermarketing or #ecommerce are broad and encompass a niche or sub-niche. You want to pick a solid root hashtag that summarizes your brand or product in one or two words or phrases. 

Screenshot of Twitter's trending topics tab. (Twitter hashtag research)

2. Make more relevant hashtags

Now it’s time to scratch beneath the surface. On Twitter, you can conduct native hashtag search. From the Twitter homepage, click on the #Explore tab and then on ‘Trending’ to get a list of trending hashtags in your area. 

For more optimized hashtag research, a tool such as Hashtagify can help. For example, type in a root hashtag, and Hashtagify will generate results relating to that root, based on correlation or popularity.   

The most popular hashtags aren’t necessarily the best. Relevancy is as, if not more, important. Aim for two to three hashtags per tweet, with variance in the popularity of each hashtag. 

If you’re struggling to find relevant hashtags, use something as simple as the day of the week to your advantage. #MondayBlues works a treat on Mondays, while #TGIF is often highly effective on a Friday. There are many other day-specific hashtags you can take advantage of.

3. Examine hashtag use

Next, monitor the use rate of your hashtags. A hashtag tracking tool can help you analyze your hashtag use rate and other metrics such as interactions, mentions. It can also see whether a tag is trending as positive or negative. That’s important because you don’t want to use a hashtag with negative connotations. It could harm your brand.

Graphics displaying social media reach provide you with insights into how effective your chosen hashtag will be. A ‘mentions’ section even shows you which Twitter users use the same hashtag and in what context. 

Hashtag statistics provide vital insights that will help you understand how effective your tag will be. 

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4. Usage volume

Now it’s time to see how much your chosen tags are used on Twitter. Knowing each hashtag’s usage volume will help you determine whether or not it’s suitable and help you choose the right hashtag to use for your brand. 

You should use at least one hashtag per post with at least 500+ Tweets per day. That would be regarded as a high volume term.  

A good hashtag tracker allows you to identify the usage volume. Hashtagify does a great job with this tracking.  The following video lays out the steps you need to take to carry out your hashtag research. 

Screenshot of Hashtagify hashtag research tool for Twitter and other social platforms.

Relevance is critical when selecting hashtags. Don’t spam your followers with irrelevant tags because they are high-volume. Use hashtags effectively. Also, use metrics and analytical tools to aid your hashtag research, but don’t rely on them. A little common sense goes a long way! 

5. Think outside the box

Nothing is stopping you from creating your own unique hashtags. It is a great addition to your brand identity on social media and helps you develop a brand voice. Having a brand hashtag is also a great way to stand out from the crowd. For example, the hashtag #JustDoIt probably once meant nothing on Twitter. Until Nike made it their slogan, that is.

Screenshot of a tweet by Nike, "You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers. #justdoit" as a hashtag research example.

Nike used this hashtag for a promotional tweet back in 2018, where Serena Williams wore some of their tennis equipment. The tweet generated over 100,000 retweets and almost 270,000 likes. That’s quite some traction!

The downside to creating your hashtag for your business is that getting a newly branded hashtag to trend can be challenging. It may take a while to get your campaign popular. On the flip side, your fans can use it to find you on Twitter. It’s unique to your brand and is part of your online brand identity.

In the dog-eat-dog world of marketing, a unique identity is a prized asset. 

6. Choose the best time to publish your articles

Now that we’ve determined the type of hashtags to use on Twitter, their relevance, and volume of usage, you need to know when to hit that ‘post’ button.  

Specific hashtags tend to trend better during certain times of the day (or night). Particular tools can help you maximize the exposure of your tags based on when they are posted., for instance, presents you with a graph showing you the peaks and troughs of a tag’s tweet volume over 24 hours. 

Let’s say your brand sells aromatic candles. You’ve chosen a pretty straightforward root hashtag that you know will perform well, based on your research before this stage – #candles. The graph below shows the estimated number of tweets per hour for #candles, based on the US/Chicago time zone. 

Screenshot of a 24 hr trend graph of the hashtag #candle.

This data can help you plan and know when to schedule tweets based on their effectiveness during certain times of the day. However, be wary of posting too much during peak times. 

Sure, you’ll probably get more people engaging with your tweet (since more people are online and searching for your hashtag). But too many posts with #candles trending may just drown out content marketing related to your brand. 

Getting that balance right is critical. 

Implement hashtag research to succeed

Hashtag research is not an exact science. Like many aspects of social media marketing, the landscape is ever-changing. One hashtag that may prove highly effective one day could become obsolete the next. 

So, you need to keep refreshing your research skills. As long as you keep trying different techniques to get the best out of your hashtags, your brand should make good traction on Twitter and spread awareness of your business.

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