Maximize Social Engagement With Optimal Hashtags
The term “hashtag” (blue in the Google Trends graph below) first appears in the English language around 2009. It took two years to spread beyond “pioneers” to early adopters.
After 2011, its use grew spectacularly, first to online business folks and then to the average person on the street.
Just as interesting, we see “Internet marketing” (red) and “search engine optimization” (yellow) in a downward trend since 2004, while “social media marketing” (green) has grown slowly since 2009. All show signs of plateauing.
Check out “keyword” (red) vs. “hashtag” (blue)…
Search interest for keywords starting dropping at about the same time that it rose for hashtags.
None of this means that search engines are unimportant. Search traffic is as important as ever to most solopreneurs.
So What Does It Mean?
Google Trends measures how much any term is searched relative to all others. So the trend line tells us that the concept of SEO (as a detailed science to optimize search results) is dropping in importance.
To avoid confusion, we’re not saying that search engine traffic is not important. It’s still the #1 traffic source for most websites. But Google has become so dominant, and so “intelligent,” that the best SEO is to blow away your reader with great content.
Google will take it from there. And with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its algorithm, that day is closer than we realize.
More than ever, search results are determined by the “offsite signals” generated by the quality and relevance of your content. Excellent content drives those signals. Your readers reward you with the offsite signals that Google values so much!
What Does This Have to Do With Hashtags?
Solopreneurs think about content in terms of keywords. They consider how much search demand there is for a given keyword, as well as how many competing web pages there are about that topic. This, along with other inputs, helps determine which content to generate.
Turning our attention to social media marketing now…
With hashtags, all the focus is on the number of posts that have a particular hashtag — in other words, the competition. The higher the count…
- the harder it will be for your video to get into the “Top” group for that hashtag
- the more quickly you’ll scroll out of the chronologically sorted “Recent” group.
Here’s where search-engine-oriented keyword concepts become important. When writing a web page or blog post, you give consideration to more than just the number of pages competing with you for that keyword….
You also consider how often people search for that term. There’s no point in writing content for a term that has…
- impossibly high competition. (Solopreneurs can’t compete for generic terms like “travel,” but can excel in tight travel niches — e.g., Puglia in Italy.)
- zero demand. If no one searches for it, your page about it is not going to be found! Simple.
Bottom Line Takeaway?
Hashtags are the keywords of SMM. Surprisingly though, most people do not optimize their choice of hashtags to maximize social engagement.
Avoid “unwinnable” hashtags (just as you avoid unwinnable keywords). Super-high-supply hashtags turn over too quickly and are used too much by popular sites for most solopreneurs to win with them.
And supply (i.e., competition) is only half the picture.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to get search demand. The real “social demand” won’t be exactly the same as “Google Search,” but it will give you a much better sense than using a hunch.
This approach will let you find “Demand” to “Supply” mismatches between competition and demand that you can capitalize on! High Demand and Low Supply hashtags are your big opportunity.
Few people think this way, but they will in 10 years. Take advantage now!
Did the part about artificial intelligence grab your attention? It caught ours too. Check out our recent article “How AI Is Being Used to Make Solopreneurs More Successful” to learn more about how AI is being used.