How using the right hashtags can boost your marketing efforts

Nearing the end of the year has us thinking about how we measure our success and set objectives for 2020. And although hashtags are a great way to find posts about a specific event, theme or mood on social media, they can also be used to boost your marketing KPI’s. So what are your goals this year? Are you looking to expand your content’s reach? Get more audience engagement? Whatever your goals are, using the right hashtags can help you achieve them.

Hashtags should boost your reach. It’s hard to engage your audience if they can’t find you. And while many marketers are comfortable using hashtags, few marketers use them effectively to improve their social media efforts. Hashtags separate different topics on social media and can be used to grow your audience by making your content more discoverable. The right hashtags can improve a brand’s reach, engagement and users – all critical metrics for your social media marketing.

Hashtags improve reach by using popular and relevant hashtags to drive traffic to your social media posts.


Great hashtags usually have some popularity but are not so common that they get lost in the shuffle. Finding the right hashtag is a bit of a hidden art. And while search bars within platforms will help you to find hashtags, it may not tell you how popular the hashtag is. To discover if the hashtag is popular there are several free and paid social media analytics tools you can use including Mention Mapp, TrendsMap, Talkwalker, and FollowerWonk. These tools show the conversations that people are having on various social channels. Monitoring blog posts can be another way to check for popular hashtags in niche areas. Along with looking at influencer and competitor posts.


Hashtags can help you speak to more (relevant) people. Beekman’s use of the Pay Per Click hashtag (#ppc) to promote her blog post about Google Ads is a good example of how you can increase your reach using popular hashtags that are relevant to your audience. And although Beekman has a modest following of 251 users, her use of #ppc (a popular hashtag) and other niche hashtags (#business, #seo,#onlinemarketing, #paidsearch, etc.) on Twitter generated 23 retweets, 64 likes and 3 replies at the time of this post. By using the right content hashtags, she’s not only expanded her reach, but also made her content more discoverable while increasing audience engagement.

#WeTheNorth.  The Raptors making it to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008  was one of the most iconic moments for Canadians this year. Using a trending hashtag is another way you can increase your reach, and many brands were quick to celebrate alongside their fans as the Raptors defied expectations making it to Game 7. #WeTheNorth represents an opportunity for brands to build off of a popular trend and Coca-Cola is one example of how a viral hashtag can be used to create an emotional connection with audiences. Coca- Cola’s use of the hashtag resulted in 143K likes and 18 replies – one of their most popular posts on Instagram!

Use hashtags to engage. Many brands use unique hashtags to track how well their marketing campaigns are promoting their products and services. The hashtag doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but it is important to check that the hashtag isn’t already in use or trending for some other cause. You’re probably most familiar with big campaign hashtags such as Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor where they asked their followers to vote for their favorite flavor on social media. Searching how often these hashtags are trending online is an easy way for big brands to measure how well a campaign is performing. Using hashtags as part of a giveaway or to generate user content are also commonly used.

Travel Alberta’s #explorealberta hashtag is an example of how branded hashtags can be used to create user-generated content. By encouraging their followers to use #exploreablerta, they have a chance to be published on the brand’s Instagram feed. This serves to increase their reach while also engaging their audience. There are now over 1.7M posts on Instagram carrying the brand’s #explorealberta hashtag, and it’s growing every day. Whether you’re a big or small brand, the important thing to remember is that the best hashtags are used to bring your followers together.