Who's using 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 top 50 hashtag. 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 reason why most farmer users aren't using hashtags isn't because they're aren't aware of them - hashtags are a part of social media scenery. A reason may be that most farmers don't often follow or click hashtags.
This correlates with the result of a powerful yet simple test that can be run on every agricultural business account. Posting content with commonly used hashtags and some without any hashtags then comparing the number of views shows the hashtags yielding only the slightest of lifts in reach. Sure, they may make a tweet look on-point but that's not marketing communication.
Insight: #TeamDairy Active Users
Analysing the active users of a hashtag provides another perspective into their value fpr marketing.
For the #TeamDairy hashtag the most frequent users (56%) are businesses and organisations wanting to reach dairy farmers. Farmer users are split between those in the UK (23%), and those in Ireland, Canada and Australia (21%).
We do know that many involved in marketing are keen to believe that hashtags work, but our advice is that they don't offer a reach solution.
To see how we deliver successful social media marketing in agriculture without using hashtags look at the amazing numbers in our Case Studies.
Top Ten Agtags
The table shows use of agricultural hashtags - Agtags - relative to #Agriculture, which is 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 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, and especially so when live in real-time.
Notable seasonal achievements and unplanned occurrences (a euphemism for a farming disaster) get posted with a popular seasonal agtag like #plant20, #harvest2020 or #lambing2020.
But their use for marketing purposes by businesses is directly counter-productive; any hint of a surfeit of business content taking over a tag from proper farmer content, and the farmers turn quickly away from the hashtag.