If your restaurant has a profile on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably noticed # signs being used in non-conventional ways. Don’t worry if the # sign and its meaning is lost on you: using the # sign has become a popular mechanic only in recent years, and is the way that social media sites “hashtag” their information and post in order to categorize things. If you use hashtags correctly, you can gain valuable exposure for your business. And if you are keen on which hashtags are “trending,” and know how to research trending hashtags in your industry, you can unlock the power of social media in a whole new way. Sound confusing? Don’t worry. In the guide that follows, we will discuss hashtags, trending hashtags, and how you can use this info to up your social media game.
For frequent readers of our blog, hashtags are probably somewhat familiar at this point. But if you are here for the first time, or need a quick refresher on what #hashtags are and how they work, here’s the quickest of primers.
On Twitter and Instagram, hashtags connect posts to other posts with the same #hashtag. By putting a number sign next to a word, you connect your media to everyone else putting a hashtag next to that same word, organizing your posts and linking them to other popular posters. When social media users click on a hashtag, they will see all other posts with that hashtag posted by all other users. Consider this a huge exposure opportunity for your restaurant: if you use #hashtags right, you can link your posts to other popular posts, and get a huge amount of visibility for your business. How?
When a hashtag is “trending,” it means that it is gaining a lot of traction amongst users, and is currently on the rise and getting used very frequently. If you are hoping to use hashtags to gain exposure for your restaurant, using “trending” hashtags means that you are tapping into the largest possible opportunity for views, as your posts will be linked to the most other posts. Utilizing “trending” hashtags means that your business has the potential to have material go viral, and benefit from the bandwagon of other hashtag users and social media viewers. So how can you figure out which hashtags are trending, and make sure that you are using hashtags the best way for your business?
Researching Trending Hashtags
There are a few different options you can use to figure out which hashtags are trending and gaining popularity. First off, there are some dedicated tools which do a lot of the work for you, and make it easy to research hashtag analytics. RiteTag is a lightweight, simple to use tool that will let you see how many people are using what hashtags, and what kind of material these hashtags are attached to. HashAtIt calls itself a “social search engine,” and let’s you search directly what topics are trending and growing. These and other tools provide a straightforward, powerful way to research trending hashtags in your industry, and figure out which tags your business can use to get some big exposure.
If you are looking for a faster and more direct way to research what hashtags are trending, you can use the “search” function in Twitter to easily get some info on what hashtags are being used, and how. To do so, brainstorm a list of hashtags that you could use for a post. Then, type in each hashtag one at a time in the Twitter search bar. Make sure that under the “more options” tab, the options for “tweets” “from everyone” and “from everywhere” are checked, so that you can see how hashtags are used around the globe.
Make note of a few things for each hashtag, to see what is “trending” from the list you brainstormed. From your search results, check when the most recent post with your chosen hashtag was posted. See how frequently that hashtag is getting used, by scrolling down through results and noting when posts are put up. And note as well what kinds of posts are linked to each tag, to see if the hashtag you want to use is really “trending” in your industry, or is just popular in general.
By picking through search results yourself, you will be able to get a better idea of exactly how a hashtag is being used, and you will be able to find a “trending” hashtag that fits your post. And by using a pre-built search tool, you can get a macro view of how “trending” a hashtag really is. Use both of these methods to research how popular a hashtag is, and use that information to boost your social media game and get as much exposure as you can. More views for your content are only a hashtag away!
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.