Hashtags in Agriculture
To hashtag or not to hashtag?
It's a popular idea that using Twitter and Instagram hashtags gets business content in front of target audiences.
Deciding which hashtags to use is a common question, but whether they work in reaching a target audience is a more important one.
Our latest research shows that in general farmers themselves are not using any hashtags at all when posting content on Twitter.
Only one-in-eight (13%) of UK farmers' Twitter posts include a popular hashtag; for example #teamdairy, #BackBritishFarming or #lambing2020. A further 24% of farmer tweets include either an uncommon hashtag, and there are many of them, or a custom hashtag - one often summarising the tweet's message.
The majority of 63% of farmers' tweets include no hashtag at all.
The question of why most farmer users aren't using hashtags cannot be because they aren't aware of them, hashtags are a highly visible part of social media's furniture. But one reason may be that they themselves don't often use hashtags to see extra content.
This would correlate with a test that can be done using any agricultural business account. Running some content with commonly used hashtags and some without any hashtags and then comparing the number of views shows hashtags giving only the slightest of lifts in reach.
Top ten AgtagsThe table shows use of agricultural hashtags, 'Agtags', relative to #Agriculture, the most commonly used hashtag in agriculture. So for every 100 uses of #Agriculture there are 48 uses of #Farming and so on.
For the full list of the top 50 Agtags see Top Fifty Twitter Agtags
So, are hashtags broken?
No, hashtags are alive and well and unequalled for connecting with anyone with a common interest, especially live in real-time.
New farming problems and topical discussions are freely debated on hashtags and special seasonal moments are shared on popular agtags like #harvest2020 or #lambing2020. They just don't provide free marketing.