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Keyword Research for Social Media – Hashtags and More

Keywords are considered a core part of SEO and a great way to bring traffic to your website. But not everyone is going to find your website via a search engine. In fact in the age of social media – marketing on social platforms has become a powerful tool for businesses looking to drive traffic to their website. 

Like traditional SEO and content marketing, it is important to research the keywords you are going to use to bring the right users to your social media campaign. 

General Keyword Research is Important

Understanding the process for general keyword research is important, even when you are planning a social media campaign. 

Keyword research is the process of identifying and analysing the words that your target audience would use to search for your product or service. It involves understanding your target audience well and understanding their search intent. 

General keyword research involves 3 stages

  1. Finding the keywords you want to use
  2. Analysing these keywords 
  3. Using the selected keywords in the right places

This same process applies to keyword research for social media campaigns. 

Regardless of which social media platform your target audience is using it is imperative to do thorough research on the keywords you want to target. 

It is also important to note that each social media platform is different and therefore the research you do for Facebook will be different to the research you do for Instagram or Linkedin. 

Keyword Research and Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms available today. With over 2billion active users, it offers businesses a massive opportunity in terms of marketing. Facebook offers businesses a wide reach and a very engaged audience. This makes it an ideal platform for businesses to use in their social media marketing endeavours. 

While Facebook does not actually use keywords or keyword-level targeting, it does have a highly sophisticated approach to targeting users. In fact, businesses can target audiences based on different levels of criteria. These criteria include:

  • Demographic data
  • Behavioural patterns
  • Wider online interests
  • Life Events
  • Hobbies

And any combination of these. 

Ultimately Facebook marketing is a great tool for starting your keyword research by understanding your target audience. You can define your audience based on any of the above information as well as other profile data. 

Additionally, while you may not be able to target audiences with keywords, you can include hashtags in your posts. This will ultimately help them find the users that are looking for those hashtags. It does need to be said that hashtags are not as prevalent on Facebook, and using multiple hashtags is frowned upon. However the use of hashtags paired with the search function is a great way to help your posts reach your target audience through search. 

Instagram Keyword Research

While Instagram is owned by Facebook or rather the umbrella company Meta, it does not function in the same way at all. Instagram is the most visual of the social media platforms. However, this does not mean that you can skip your keyword research. In fact, keywords play more of a role on Instagram than on Facebook. Instagram relies very heavily on the use of hashtags. 

Pretty pictures are wonderful for marketing, however, if your pictures are not seen by your target audience, you are wasting your time. The only way to make sure that your images are seen by the audience you are targeting is through the use of hashtags. 

Hashtags are basically keywords. Hashtags allow users to find content that is relevant to their interests. This is why without them, the only people seeing your content are your friends and family. 

Like Facebook, Instagram does not have a dedicated keyword research function. However, this is not the end of your social media campaign. Other keyword research tools are available – although they are not essential. 

Another bonus on Instagram is that is acceptable to use multiple hashtags on one post. This is generally frowned upon on other social media platforms, but Instagram is all for it. This means that once you have done your research, you can target many different interest groups and audiences with a single post. 

LinkedIn Keyword Research

LinkedIn is a professional social media platform and is a great tool for B2B campaigns. In fact, keywords are the number one way that recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn. It is also a great way to grow your business’s exposure. 

LinkedIn’s search function works in similar ways to actual search engines like Google. This means that doing keyword research for your business profile and posts is important. 

Again it is vital that you have a good understanding of the terms that people use to search for your business. And utilising the search function on LinkedIn as well as checking out your competitors are two great ways to start identifying keywords for your business. 

Once you have done adequate research on your keywords, use them to your advantage. By optimising your profiles, posts and even your ads, you can attract the audience you are targeting. 


Using hashtags on social media platforms is a great way to help users, who are using the search function, find your posts. It is important to conduct keyword research for hashtags in the same way you would for traditional keywords. This is vital because some hashtags have been used billions of times and this makes your posts hard to find in the sea of posts using that hashtag. 

It is a great idea to use hashtags that include your brand name as well as your product or service. You should ultimately use a mix of popular hashtags (not ones that have billions of views but ones that are popular) and hashtags that are original to your brand. 


 While each and every social media platform is different, using keywords in your posts and ads is a great way to help your business. By including keywords on your profile as well you are able to maximise your exposure and grow your audience. While not all social media platforms offer keyword targeting, almost all offer some kind of search function, which in turn means you should be optimising your posts by using great keywords.