“Reach beyond your followers”
That’s the motto we came up with for RiteTag
That is it, right there: the essence of our value proposition. You have your followers in various social networks that have topic-tagging and hashtag search capability. Beyond your followers, there are those who passively and actively track or search hashtags to discover content and the sharers of such content. Use hashtags that are relevant to the links, images, sales deals that you are sharing – but also most widely used, and you greatly increase the likelihood that in addition to your followers, your social updates are found by those who would not have seen them. This is what we have been telling you. Now, we are proving it.
I am ready to show you the value: what happens when you add a couple good hashtags to a tweet
After first round of tests, I see scattered evidence of people finding my content through hashtags used with my posts to Googleplus. I either do not use or am not active on the other social networks integrated in RiteTag and thus cannot easily test what I might gain from optimizing photos and images sent to Instagram, Picasa, Flickr or DeviantArt or presentations and videos uploaded to SlideShare or Vimeo. I am not selling anything on eBay; can’t see what can be done with vs without hashtags in there, either. Perhaps you can. In Twitter the evidence is clear, however.
How I tested RiteTag hashtags in Tweets: two Twitter accounts, tweeting the same tweets, with and without tags
I gave the Goliath advantage to the account which would tweet without hashtags, using the @SaulSay Twitter account, which had 4,856 followers and Klout 46 when I began, March 27, 2013. @OsakaTalk, with 366 followers and a Klout score of 38 would tweet the same content, but include 2-4 hashtags, as discovered from the fast new Tag search feature of RiteTag. I tweeted blog posts and other tweets containing a link that I hoped readers would click on, but I would include no hashtags other than the one that a few of the blog post authors included in the title. Of thirty such tweets, 4 had one word in the original tweet already hashtags (i.e. a word was prefixed with the # character), and while these got slightly more attention than those with no hashtags, they did not alter the results greatly. I ended the test with the following tweet, which I formatted for Googleplus and tried in there as well as in Twitter :
So, @OsakaTalk with little interaction, a low Klout score and under 400 followers – but using RiteTag-suggested hashtags was to compete for clicks on links in tweets and perhaps retweets and Klout growth – with @SaulSay, with 8 points higher Klout (i.e. more history of engagement with followers) and 12 times the followers. @Saulsay would use any hashtags the author had included already – but no more.
Tweeting the same tweets from these Twitter accounts, each at the same time but with different and unique bit.ly URLs (to track click-throughs from those tweets, these are the accounts I’m using. @Saulsay is tweeting without hashtags / @OsakaTalk is using RiteTag-discovered hashtags
Hashtag optimization or none: what do you get in Twitter:
I did not track Favorites, but they were markedly higher for the tweets with hashtags. The difference for retweets is the clearest.
Compare the columns, tweets vs retweets:
@SaulSay, tweeting without hashtags. Note the time-span for those retweets: 7 retweets in over two months’ time:
@OsakaTalk, tweeting with hashtags – again, note the time-span and how @osakatalk gets so many more retweets that it’s last seven retweets are just from the last 48 hours:
What’s more, courtesy of RetweetRank.com, stats for @saulsay (for one week, the first week of the experiment):
@SaulSay – 5 retweets for 123 tweets
RetweetRank stats for @osakatalk: 17 retweets for 111 tweets:
So, where should I get these great hashtags, and enjoy more pageviews, Klout growth and Twitter goodness?
If you already know your hashtags, great. Use them. If you have an event or brand tag that is relevant to what you’re sharing, use it. To reach beyond your followers, you’ll want to take your topic and search hashtags that have gone out with the topic word(s). Several social media tools provide for this.
Hashtag optimization tools to know:
Hashtracking.com – like RiteTag, we log in with Twitter, even if registered. Great layout, but no details on hashtags, or their ranking, in relation to the search query. As such, it’s great if you already know and want stats on a tag; it doesn’t actually lead you to hashtags to consider using, however. Hashtag information is provided for Twitter only.
Socialmention.com – the closest thing to RiteTag, but provides many more stats. One section is for hashtags related to your query, but unlike RiteTag, data is not frequently updated. The hashtags suggested for a query lead with your query, whether it has been used as a hashtag or not, and those that follow do not seem relevant, generally. Also, hashtag data is limited to Twitter. Upper-left areas showing sentiment, number of retweets of a hashtag, strength and reach are good – but unexplained.
Whatthetag.com – Hootsuite’s product has yet to give me a result. Widely touted as the hashtag search tool, it appears to be all about humans defining hashtags so that their meaning is known and this information is cataloged. Nothing showing the hashtags used in context (in recent tweets) or how many times they are used. Nothing suggesting other hashtags related to a query/ topic. As with most tools, while over fifty social networks use topic hashtags, Whatthetag assumes that we are interested in Twitter hashtags only.
Tagdef.com – again, all about humans defining hashtags. The site aims to provide hashtags related to a hashtag researched on the site, but gives results without ranking them or providing stats on the users using them, number of times used, or estimated reach. Additionally, they ask us to manually suggest related tags. My problem with this is that it begs people to game their tags by linking with well-tracked hashtags. For TagDef as well, hashtags = Twitter hashtags.
Hashonomy.com – provides related hashtags (as with most tools, only for Twitter), but without stats on the number of times each have been used. Data refreshes very infrequently, making stats unreliable. For example, for the hashtag #SEM, after authorizing my Twitter account for the site (as I do with RiteTag, Hashtracking and other tag-search tools), I am told that the last entry for #SEM was a week ago. I do not see who used it, or in what context. RiteTag gives me up-to-the-minute tweets containing #SEM, shows the number of times accounts have used the tag, and for related tags, rather than listing them, they are ranked and with stats that help me decide if they are both relevant and likely to reach beyond my followers:
RiteTag.com (disclaimer: I am the founder) – give ritetag a topic and ritetag suggests hashtags that have gone out with your query word(s). If Tag search doesn’t give you Reports or Tag sets that help, you can order your own Reports – with your query term(s) and noting any/all of the nine social networks that RiteTag analyzes hashtag data for.