Do you know the difference between a WordPress tag and hashtags used on social media? Not all tags are the same!
At Design TLC, we are fans of Instagram (follow our new-ish Instagram page here). Instagram has become a popular social media tool, and is widely used as a marketing tool. The popularity of Instagram causes confusion about the term “tag.” Many Instagrammers and marketers add a long list of “tags” or “hashtags” in their posts. Each hashtag is a new, unique feed for your content. Tags became even more powerful when, at the end of 2017, Instagram added the ability to follow specific hashtags. According to a study by Klear, hashtags are the best way for your posts to get noticed on Instagram. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than those without. However, more is not better! While it is common to see Instagram posts loaded with tons of hasthags, Klear found that the ideal number of hashtags is 2.
WordPress Blog Tags
WordPress “tags” are actually completely unrelated to Instagram tags/hashtags. WordPress tags, similar to categories, are there to aid the reader in navigating your site. Think of Categories as your website or blog’s Table of Contents you would find at the beginning of a book, and Tags as your the Index Words you would find in the back of a book. Used incorrectly, tags can be of little use to your website. Tags on a blog post are not “follow” tags that you may be used to using and seeing on social media. As noted in this Manage WP article, WordPress tags are “only valid if you can demonstrate that tagging will be more useful to your readers than most alternative forms of navigation.” If you use tags, you need to have a plan or strategy that allows them to be used. If you tag a blog post but your theme does is not designed to display tags on the post, they are practically useless. You also need to have a strategy for selecting the best tags. That’s where SEO keywords come into play.
Instagram Tags are Like WordPress SEO Keywords
While WordPress tags are not related to Instagram hashtags, there is an element of your WordPress website that is similar to hashtags: keywords. Finding keywords for your website is a complex process we outlined here. The process for researching keywords and hashtags is similar. You need to find out the terms that people are using to find the content, product or service you are offering. You need to find out what they associate it with, and what keywords they use for that.
How to Choose Instagram Hashtags
Choosing hashtags is a process that is relatively unknown to most Instagram users. Selecting the best hashtags is a lot like selecting keywords. You want to make sure they are relevant, that they have a search volume, and that they are not overly broad or competitive. If you type a hashtag into the Instagram search bar you can see the volume or popularity of that term to help determine if it is a good option for you. Hubspot shares tips on selecting and using hashtags in this article.
How to Choose WordPress Tags
As noted above, you should only use tags on your WordPress blog posts if you have a strategy for using them and displaying them on your website. A tag that is only used two or three times is a term that is not particularly relevant to your website content. And, if almost all of your posts have the same tags, they are too general and not helpful for your users.
Tagging Is a Commitment
Manage WP notes that tagging “shouldn’t be done half-heartedly – each one should be carefully considered, and that takes time.” Using tags on your website also requires some maintenance and organization to merge duplicate tags and deleting overused/underused tags. Tags can become like weeds in your garden – if you don’t tend to them they can get out of control.
Tip: Social Sharing Plugin Can Make the Connection (But Not to Instagram)
Now that this is cleared up – there is a solution to making your WordPress tags work on some social media networks. Use this Easy Social Share Buttons plugin to make a connection between your WordPress tags and social media hashtags, such as Facebook and Twitter. At this time, sharing a blog post to Instagram is not possible due to Instagram’s setup.
Many marketers still overlook the importance of researching keywords and their relationship to tags and hashtags. Both tags and hashtags play a role in SEO for your website. They are related to the core keywords your website is based on. Keywords with the relevant and carefully selected and researched tags can help drive traffic to your website. Hashtags will help your content appear in relevant popular streams.
If you use tags in your WordPress blog posts, make sure you have a strategy for how they will be displayed and used, and remember that they are not the same as social media hashtags.