Most of us as authors have more than enough to keep track of in the social media sphere without adding those dreaded hashtags. I mean what are they Just to recap, hashtags are keywords with a # or hash in front of them. Everyone is using them, but not everyone is using them correctly. To find out more about hashtag etiquette read my article 5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly. That being said, some of the most popular hashtags with both authors and readers are the genre hashtags. However, finding the best hashtags for your particular genre can be a problem. I know what you’re thinking, “but this should be a no-brainer, I know what genre my book is in and I can use that and put a hashtag in front of it right?” Well, yes, and no. Here are five tips to help you find the best genre hashtags that will attract readers to your books.
1. Create a list of keywords including the word for your genre. Make sure you include keywords associated with your genre. For example, YA and young adult. Both mean the same thing, but each one may be reaching a different audience. In this example, one of these keywords is used mostly by authors, promotions companies and publicists. It is used to get the word out to those people who will then hopefully retweet, or repost to their followers. This is all fine and good and yes you will reach some readers using this hashtag, but… and this is a big but, most of the people reading these posts are industry insiders, not readers. Industry insiders are great, don’t get me wrong, and yes, these people are readers too, but you want your core audience to your posts to be readers. So, the key is finding those keywords associated with your genre that are being searched for by readers. So, do a search for each hashtag on your list and then see who is using that hashtag and who is retweeting etc. See what other hashtags readers are using when they retweet and if it’s not on your list consider adding it and trying it out for new readers. There is no set way of finding the best genre hashtags but a little bit of research goes a long way.
2. Use sites like www.topsy.com to find out if any of your hashtags are trending and how many tweets a day contain it. You don’t want to use a hashtag that no one else is using because no one will be searching for it. And that won’t sell your books! Use the hashtags from your list that are being used by others, particularly readers, which leads into my next tip.
3. Hang out online with readers and follow readers on Twitter, FB and Google+. You’ll discover which genre hashtags they use the most when tweeting and posting to their reader audience and you can use them too!
4. Find publishers that publish in your genre and check out their tweets and social media posts that contain books in your genre. See how they’re interacting with readers and what those readers are retweeting and what genre hashtags they’re using when they do it. You can use the same genre hashtags.
5. Finally, even when a genre hashtag looks like a good one and one that is being used often, still check it on www.topsy.com or another similar website to get an idea of the analytics before you start using it. This will help you to use genre hashtags that are going to reach readers, and maybe aren’t ones that a reader just instantly made up! Which by the way is fine, but only once it’s really being used by other readers.
If you follow these tips for finding the best genre hashtags, you will bring many more readers to your books. There are tons of articles on hashtags authors should be using, but one of the things I’ve noticed is that many times these are hashtags that are being used by industry insiders and not necessarily readers. Since you’re trying to reach readers and not necessarily other authors, publishers etc. at least not initially, you want the hashtags readers are using.