How to Perform a Hashtag Search Across Multiple Channels

hashtag searchWhen you run a conference, event or Twitter chat, how do you monitor the traffic that is generated across multiple channels?

Do you know how to track conversations across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram?

The initial question came up after a discussion with my good friend Shonali Burke, so I thought it was worth exploring!

Hashtags are no longer unique to Twitter, so you need to include these other channels, too.

1.  What’s the Point of Hashtags?

A lot of hashtags are used in a way that they were not intended for.  For example, imagine this tweet:

Going to a party going to have fun #cantwaitforit

This is an example of the kind of nonsense hashtags that are shared a lot.  These types of hashtags may add a bit of color to your tweet, but they don’t offer any value.

The real point of a hashtag is to help people filter relevant conversations.  For example, if you have an event you can assign a hashtag for the event and then people can view all the tweets related to that event, even if they don’t follow anyone attending it.  This type of hashtagging is very useful.

So, when you are creating hashtags, think about how they can be useful for people who want to filter relevant conversations.  No one is going to filter based on generic hashtags such as #social, so don’t think for a second that using something so broad ranging is going to get you additional attention or traffic. You’re more likely to get spammers following you, as they may be tracking some of these general hashtags.

2. What is Good Practice for Creating Hashtags?

a) Check to see if the hashtag you want has already been created.  For example, if you’re thinking of creating a hashtag for an event, search for the hashtag you have in mind to see it’s already in use.

There could also be a hashtag in existence for a completely different subject, and you don’t want to have a duplicate hashtag if you can avoid it.

b) Make it easy to spell/remember – If it’s easily forgettable or difficult to spell then people will mistype it – you’ll lose the value and find it impossible to track.

c) Long hashtags with multiple words may add color to your conversation but will not be searched by anyone (e.g. #havingagoodtime).

3. What Platforms are Hashtags Relevant on?

Hashtags used to really only be used on Twitter but they have now spread to many platforms.  For example,  hashtags are extremely important on Instagram, where they are very useful for filtering categories of pictures.  They are also used on Facebook and Google+ and can be used on other platforms like LinkedIn.

4.  How Do You Perform a Hashtag Search Across Multiple Channels?

If you want to track hashtags on Twitter, there are several really good tools to choose from (see here), but there are fewer tools available if you want to track activity across several platforms.  However, here are some options:

a) Tagboard

Tagboard allows you to search based on a hashtag and view conversations across multiple channels e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

The information is displayed in a nice, visual way as it retrieves any images that are associated with the hashtag.  You can also filter based on the channel you are most interested in.

To view content related to a hashtag, you just enter the hashtag you are interested in.

Tagboard hashtags

A filtered view based on the hashtag

If you want to make this filtered view available to your audience, you can embed it on your own website.   For example, if you are running an event, you may want to share details of content shared related to the event.   The paid version of Tagboard gives you more control over the content shared on your site.

b)  Brand24 monitoring tool

One of the best ways of monitoring a hashtag is to use a keyword monitoring tool, because a hashtag is just a a word with a hash symbol in front of it.

In Brand24, you create a new project and add a hashtag to the project.  You want to view any content that has this keyword/hashtag in it.

When you set this up, you can then start to monitor the hashtag across multiple channels.  For example, the following shows that the combined hashtags, #worldcup #france, were mainly discussed on Twitter, but were also quite popular on Facebook and other channels (other channels are mainly other websites and Google+).

Brand24 sources

This shows where the hashtags appeared

You can also track mentions over a particular time period and filter them based on channel.  You can click on any point in the graph to view mentions on that particular day.

Brand24 track mentions

Filter mentions based on channels

When you filter the mentions, you are then able to see the individual messages that appear for each mention across each channel.

c)  Real-time tracking using Keyhole

Keyhole provides real-time analytics for hashtags across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

When you go to the site, you’ll be asked for the hashtag and the channels you want to monitor.  In our case, we selected all three channels and entered the hashtag ‘World Cup’.

You are then shown an overview based on the hashtag.

Keyhole hashtag search

Enter the hashtag and channels

Here’s a summary of the results displayed.  You can get an idea of how popular the hashtag was with the reach and impressions.  This could be very important to you if you are running a campaign and you have set up the hashtag.  You may want to report on how widespread a hashtag becomes.

Keyhole Results

This is part of the overview displayed

As well as the above report, you can also view a breakdown of the:

  • Most influential users sharing the content
  • Countries where the content was shared
  • Main discussion areas around this hashtag, displayed in a cloud.  If you click on anything within the cloud, you can view  a filtered list of the content based around that topic.
Keyhole Topics

Filter based on the specific topics discussed around a hashtag

  • Top sites sharing this content
  • Demographic breakdown (male/female).


Hashtags are getting more and more popular, and it will become increasingly important for companies to monitor relevant hashtags across multiple channels, so a good search tool is essential.

We would love to hear about your opinion on hashtags and any tools that you may use!