Ever since Twitter went live, hashtags have been an important part of the way people communicate on social media. While many are random or one-off and used to add humor or context to a tweet, most of them can help you search for a particular topic, campaign, product, event, and much much more.
They’ve been used for everything from the Super Bowl to the recent Me Too movement that works to fight sexual harassment. You can even search for a hashtag relating to a TV show to see who else is watching at any given time for a worldwide discussion.
Hashtags are also an important tool for social media marketers who want to improve upon their strategies. Whether you want to know who the biggest influencers in your niche are or you are keeping up with your own campaign, tracking hashtags should be a task that is high on your priority list. You can track hashtags manually with the search fields on sites like Twitter and Instagram, but using one of the top tools can make it easy and even provide you with information and analytics you wouldn’t find on your own.
7 Top (and Free) Tools for Tracking Hashtags
Hashtagify is great for identifying influencers, as well as helping you come up with your own original hashtag. You can search for the ones you have in mind, and it’ll even help you find related ones. When using your hashtag, you can search for usage patterns from the last 60 days. It’ll even search photos and videos, in addition to the texts of actual tweets.
If you’re still new to hashtags or you haven’t quite gotten a good handle on how to use them, you may want to start with Hashtags.org. It’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know, plus show you what the top trending ones are in various categories. If you’re curious about what a certain hashtag means, this tool will tell you, and you can even add your own hashtag to its database.
Twubs also allows you to register your own hashtag and create sort of a chat room related to it that allows you to keep an eye on the discussion. You can also search discussions for other hashtags and jump into them if you want. Best of all, when you’re searching a particular hashtag, it’ll offer suggestions for related words and phrases you may not have thought of.
Talkwalker’s tool has both free and paid options, and both offer plenty of features. The one you’ll probably use the most offers up some metrics on individual hashtags, including engagement, buzz, and potential reach.
It’s definitely fun to look at, but it’s useful, too. Trendsmap allows you to zoom in on all the cities, states, countries, and regions of the world you care about to see what’s trending in real time, including social media users, hashtags, and keywords. Once you click on a particular hashtag on the map, it provides you with various analytics for it. You can also retrieve that data from the last week.
If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love Tagboard. When you search for a hashtag, it provides you with a picture of how it’s being talked about on multiple social media platforms beyond just Twitter. It’ll look a little bit like Pinterest but with social media posts instead of recipes and craft ideas. Filter the keywords you want, and filter out the platforms you don’t. You can also search for various forms of media.
Without a doubt, RiteTag probably offers the most information of all the tools mentioned. Sign up for email alerts when hashtags and subjects you’re monitoring become trending topics. Compare your own hashtags to see which ones have the biggest potential reach, as well as the most retweets, engagement, exposure, and impressions. The tool even tells you if the hashtags you’re using on your Twitter account are good or bad. You can also integrate tools like HootSuite.
If you can’t decide which tool you like best, experiment with each of them until you find the one that provides you with the information you need. Also, keep in mind that while all of the tools listed above are free, many of them offer extra features for a monthly fee.
Other Tips for Using and Tracking Hashtags
- Keep your hashtag fairly short, and don’t be too general. You want to choose something that is unique to your brand, but not so unique that no one understands it.
- Spell it correctly every time. One misspelled hashtag can completely ruin your campaign.
- Encourage your customers to add it to their photos of your products and services. For example, if you sell t-shirts, have them take a photo of themselves wearing your shirt and post it on Twitter or Instagram with your hashtag. It’s free advertising for you, and it’s a quick way to make your hashtag usage grow.
- Don’t just use your hashtags online. Add them to receipts, fliers, billboards, TV commercials, radio commercials, and any other offline advertising you do. They may have started on Twitter, but they’ve trickled into the real world, and curious people will look at them and even use them on their social media accounts.
- Keep an eye on real-time conversations. To do this, you just type your hashtag into the search field on whatever social media site you want to check (or use one of the tools mentioned above). This will give you an idea of whether or not your brand has been mentioned recently (and frequently) or if your campaign may be dying off.
- Every new social media campaign you start should have its own hashtag. Every contest you hold on social media should also have its own hashtag. As a matter of fact, using a unique hashtag is the best way to keep up with contest entries (and it’s easier for your followers).
- For new social media campaigns, do a manual search or use a tool to determine if your chosen hashtag is already in use by other companies or individuals. The more results you find, the less likely people are to attribute it to your brand.