When it comes to making your content visible on Twitter, one tool stands out above all others: The noble hashtag.
The hashtag may seem to be ubiquitous by now, but let’s not forget that Twitter was the very first platform to use and popularize it. Up until then, what’s now known as the “hashtag symbol” was the pound sign, a glyph of dubious utility that got used – once in a while – on the phone.
Now, the hashtag is the most powerful way to clarify the topic and purpose of your content in an instant. By inviting yourself into conversations around trending hashtags, you have the chance to shape opinions and make your brand more relevant.
There’s just one catch: There are thousands of hashtags trending worldwide at any given time.
Sure, Twitter gives you visibility into the most popular trending hashtags, but if you want to make a real difference, you’ll need to know more.
Luckily, there are many free tools you can use to scope out hashtags effectively.
Hashtagify provides a “mind map” of interrelationships between keywords so you can see the various possibilities at a glance. The popularity of individual hashtags and strength of correlation between two hashtags are also tracked in a straightforward way. Once you’ve identified your hashtags, you can also check out the top influencers for any given tag. The core functionality can be used by anyone, but some advanced features require you to sign up for a free account.
While most hashtag tools focus on what’s going on “out there” at a given moment, RiteTag is a little bit different. It helps you construct your own hashtag strategy, starting by evaluating the hashtags you’re using in your current posts. Its approach to trending hashtags combines both past usage data and future projections, allowing you to get more mileage from tags right away. Plus, it will aid you in selecting tags for both immediate visibility and long-term growth.
Knowing what a hashtag is about is key to using it correctly. More than one national brand has run into serious trouble by diving into a hashtag before assessing its meaning. Hashtags.org is a learning resource that functions like an encyclopedia of hashtags. It also correlates trending and popular hashtags so you can get an idea of what’s going on right now. It offers all users a free subscription, but also includes several membership tiers with premium support.
Twubs is an interesting concept – it lets you join and create conversations focused on individual hashtags, building a sort of meta-community around your tag. If you’ve developed your own hashtag, you can register it on the Twubs site and start a chat room centered around it. By integrating the chat room feed into your own website, you create a new, brand-forward way for people to get involved. Naturally, Twubs also functions as a directory of important hashtags.
Trendsmap is a terrific tool for any brand that has a particular geographic focus. It takes the form of a complete map of Earth with current hashtags overlaid on it. You can see which hashtags are trending by city, state, or region, giving you the chance to zoom in as far as you wish. This is an unparalleled way to illuminate hashtag trends in areas that aren’t typically served by other tools. Want to see what’s going on in Iceland or Malta? Trendsmap can help you do it.
In an ideal world, all you’d need to do to find out what’s going on with a hashtag is look at Twitter, right? Keyhole steps in to extend your hashtag tracking capabilities while keeping things simple. You can find out the number of posts and users associated with a topic or hashtag, plus the total reach and number of impressions. Top posts are also provided, and the total post count is broken down according to sentiment – positive, negative, or neutral.
To Get the Lowdown on Hashtags, Use More Than One Tool
When you look at the six apps above, one thing stands out. Although most of them share some basic functionality, they all approach the challenge of hashtags in a different way.
Since each one is so easy to use and takes only a few seconds to run an analysis, you can get the best performance by layering several together.
For example, you could use Trendsmap to find out what’s trending in a local area, Keyhole to determine how people feel about it, Hashtagify me to identify related topics, and RiteTag to be sure you’re using hashtags in a constructive way.
Twitter provides so much interesting data to marketers, it’s no surprise that some of the best hashtag tools out there are free to use. Use them today to achieve powerful visibility into the topics that matter most – now and next.