How to work out hashtags for your VA business social media posts
Hashtags are a great way to get your VA business blog and social media posts in front of the right audience. They also help you boost your profile and enable you to grow your social media followers, as they extend the reach of your content to people outside of your immediate network. But knowing the hashtags for your VA business isn’t always as simple as it could be. It isn’t a case of simply using the hashtags you find are most relevant to your business – you need to also know what hashtags people are using online too.
Here’s my ten-step process to help you work out hashtags for your VA blog and social media posts, so you can use them to quickly and effectively grow your online presence.
Step #1: Start with a goal
As with anything, you need to have a goal in mind, before you can decide what hashtags to use. You need a hashtag goal. But what does it mean, to have a hashtag goal?
You need to know what hashtags you want to be associated with. This usually breaks down into two separate needs – what you want to be known for (i.e. #VirtualVA or #VirtualAssistant) and who you’re looking to attract (i.e. #HampshireAccountant or #smallbusiness).
Write down the keywords that spring to mind, when you think of what you want to be known for and who you’re looking to attract.
Step #2: Know the different types of hashtag
By deciding on your hashtag goal and making a general list of the key words you’d associate with it, you’ve actually started to write down keywords that naturally fall into the different hashtag types. These are:
- Industry – the niche you’re in and the market you want to become known in and to.
- Location – where you’re based or the area you’d like to serve.
- Generic – general keywords that aren’t business specific – such as motivation, transformation etc.
There are two other types of hashtag – custom and daily – but we’ll cover them in the following steps. In the meantime, go through the three different hashtag types above and add any words that spring to mind, onto your list.
Step #3: Find the custom hashtags for your VA business
Now it’s time to write down your custom keywords. These are anything that relate directly to your business – things that are unique to you. This can be your business name, motto or tagline, product or service names, or you can create your own. If you do create your own though, make sure to keep it simple, short and catchy!
Add these to your list.
So, to give you an indication – the one hashtag I am now trying to use in my posts is #virtualassistanttraining – it would be great if you could follow and interact with those posts.
Step #4: Check out what the influencers are doing
Go to the platforms you’re going to be using and look for the popular people in your niche. Look at a few of their posts. See what hashtags they’re using and make a note of them.
If you don’t know who the influencers in your VA niche are, type one of your niche keywords into the search bar and see who comes up.
In Instagram, you can type in a keyword and go to the ‘people’ tab, to see who is there. Whilst you’re here, you can also click on the ‘tags’ tab to get a list of other relevant, popular and effective hashtags too!
You can also use software to make the process of finding the right hashtags easier for you. HashTagify.me is a great option, as it gives you an overview of influencers, as well as related keywords you can use. It also comes with a free 7-day trial and costs $29 per month, if you go for the monthly payment option (you can cancel anytime – so may be worth paying for one month, to get clear on all your hashtags).
Step #5: Look for trending keywords
General and industry-related hashtags are a great way to get in front of your intended audience, so take time to check out what’s trending.
Twitter gives you tailored trends, based on your location, interests and who you follow. If you want a bigger list, simply change your location!
Trending hashtags are going to change on a regular basis, so it’s worth completing this search regularly.
RiteTag is a great way to check out what’s trending on Instagram and Twitter. It gives you an idea of what to use now, what to avoid, as well as what you can use over time, to raise your profile. You can complete a free search or sign up for a 7-day trial with a paid account – with prices starting at $49 per year.
Step #6: Check they’re not banned or restricted!
Did you know, there are over 114,000 banned or restricted hashtags on Instagram! Some of them are simply bizarre – such as #desk or #books – so make sure you go through and type in each of your keywords, before you make a final decision whether to use them or not.
If you search a keyword (with or without the hashtag # symbol), you may immediately get a ‘no results’ or ‘results hidden’ message. Other times though, you may get a list of top results – but if you click on the ‘recent’ tab, nothing will show up, except a message stating recent posts are hidden due to restrictions etc.
Although there’s not a definitive list of banned and restricted Instagram hashtags, here’s a good place to get the most common ones: https://thepreviewapp.com/list-of-banned-instagram-hashtags-2018/
Step #7: Narrow down your selection
By now you’ve probably got a long list of hashtags for your VA business, so it’s a good time to narrow down your selection. Going through the banned list would’ve helped, but you’ll need to make sure you’re only using the right hashtags for you. This means opting for only those that are relevant to your business and your overall goals.
It isn’t always a case of going for the most popular ones either. In fact, it often helps if you opt for those that are more tailored or niche, with fewer competitors. For example, #entrepreneur has 32.1 million results on Instagram – whereas VAEntrepreneur has only 637 post results.
It’s also worth using hashtag variations to find the more effective (and the easier to master!) hashtags. Here’s an example of hashtag variations and the variety of results they bring in: #copywriting (211k results), #copywriter (176k results) and #copywriters (12k results) or #VA (3 million results), #VirtualAssistant (198k results) and #virtualassistance (11.5k results).
Step #8: Select your daily hashtags
Daily hashtags are popular hashtags, designed to share a common thread with anyone on the social media platform. They can be used to raise awareness of your brand or simply to join in with a bit of daily fun – or a mixture of both!
Thrive Hive have compiled a great list of popular daily hashtags you can use – you’ll find the main list here: https://thrivehive.com/39-daily-hashtags-for-small-business-marketing/ In the meantime, here’s a few from that list, to get you started:
Step #9: Don’t go overboard
It’s important that you don’t go overboard with the hashtags for your VA business. Instagram may let you use up to 30 hashtags, but the optimum amount is between 5-15. For Pinterest, the optimum amount is 4-10. It’s also better to use a few well thought out ones, instead of opting for a load of spammy ones. It’s a good idea to use a combination of the different types, to reach your 15 hashtags – such as 5 industry-related ones, 2 location ones, 1 custom one, a daily hashtag, a trending one and generic ones directly related to the content or purpose of your post, for the remainder.
With other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, it’s easier, as you only need one to three hashtags – so you need to be stricter with the ones you select.
If you have a large list of hashtags you want to use, you can also compile them into groups – and alternate which group of hashtags you use. This is a good strategy, as it helps you remember to rotate keywords, as well as picking the most relevant group for the content you’re posting.
Step #10: See what works for you
Finally, have fun with hashtags. See what works for you. Try out different combinations. Test and tweak your combinations and see what hashtags work best for your VA business. As with anything, you need to give your efforts time to return a result. Look to spend a month using a range and mix of core hashtags, before deciding what is or isn’t working for you.
Hashtags are a great way to get your VA business blog and social media posts in front of the right audience – if you know which hashtags to use. By following my ten-step process, you’ll not only have a wide range of hashtags to use, you’ll also be able to understand how to use them quickly and effectively, to grow your online presence. Consider using a tool such as the hashtag tracker from Brandmentions, they search the entire internet for where a hashtag is being used to find relevant information and insights about it and it accurately monitors Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in real-time.
Have you been using hashtags for your VA business? Maybe you’ve been avoiding them but found today’s article helped clear up the mystery or overwhelm around them. Why not share your worries, a-ha moments and successes around hashtags in the comments box below!
Update: I have recently completed a Viral Hashtags Mastery Workshop with Katya Varbanova – it has totally blown my mind. The workshop is less than $30 and totally worth it. If you want to get your hands on a copy of the Workshop you can do so here. I have been using this hashtag theory alongside her Viral Content Templates also on a promotion currently and you get those by clicking here.