Hashtags have become an integral part of social media management. They’re used on almost every major (and minor) social media site. And when it comes to promoting your brand on social media channels, hashtags are a great way to drive views, likes and shares.
Known previously just as the pound or hex sign (#), the hashtag has become a way to make your content discoverable to a captive audience, and in several cases, unfortunately misused.
A Brief History of Hashtag
Hashtags were first widely used on Twitter, but they have become commonplace on other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
A hashtag is a word or keyword phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#). It is used within a post on social media to help those who may be interested in your topic to be able to find it when they search for a keyword or particular hashtag. The social media platform’s algorithm will be able to cluster all posts with the same hashtag within a period of time, showing them to valid users. It helps to draw attention to your posts and encourage interaction.
Mastering the hashtag gives you a powerful way to engage your audience and increase your social impact at no cost other than the time it takes to do some research and pay attention to trends.
Used correctly, hashtags help people interested in your topic to find you and help expand your influence and followers.
What do you do with Hashtags?
When using a phrase as a hashtag, you spell it out without spaces, such as #usinghashtags. It can include numbers, but should not contain any symbols or punctuation. The hashtag can be placed at the beginning, middle or end of your social media post or comment, and it allows what you have written to be indexed by the social media network. With this strategy, people who are not your fans or followers can still find your content.
Hashtags are important on social media as they enable your content to be found by the right people. As a complement to digital copywriting, the use of relevant hashtags helps your content, allowing it to be found and drives traffic to your material so that you can boost views, likes, and shares. The key is finding the right ones that match your content and appeal to users.
How do Hashtags Work?
The point of using hashtags on social media is that you are indicating to a follower or user an algorithm that your content relates to a specific topic or category. Ultimately, it helps users find the relevant content easily across platforms so your content is discoverable to a wider (or niche) audience.
While it sounds simple to place a hashtag in front of your keyword, there is some other basic information that’s important to know when you are trying to be found by using hashtags.
Using them only makes a difference in your social media strategy when done the right way. Here are some general tips:
- Don’t get carried away using a hashtag every couple of words. The number of hashtags that can be used depends on which platform you are using. But in most cases, one to three hashtags can have more impact than using a lot of them.
- Keep hashtags short and memorable rather than trying to use a lot of words in one tag. Remember #BlackOutTuesday being used successfully as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2020?
- Don’t try to choose hashtags that are too clever or obscure. If you choose a tag that no one is going to search for, it won’t benefit your marketing as it won’t be found.
- Use hashtags that are detailed and specific as this will lead to better results than broad or general ones. Broad terms are not likely to be searched, and if you use them, your content will probably get lost in a sea of unrelated posts.
- Don’t try to force hashtags into every post. Instead, use them when they add value and are likely to stimulate conversation and interaction.
- Hashtags do not only attract members of your target audience but can also be used to research your competition. Search using hashtags, and you will uncover relevant content related to your topic.
Here, we take a look at the best practices of using hashtags on the different social media platforms and finding out how they each work respectively.
How to Use Hashtags on Twitter
Using relevant hashtags on Twitter can increase your engagement, as long as you don’t go overboard. One or two hashtags per tweet should be sufficient. When you use a couple of hashtags and specifically ask your followers to retweet, this may result in higher rates of engagement.
The use of hashtags on Twitter will make your post accessible when people search for your tag. It can also help you to find conversations to get involved in. For even more impact on this platform, research the trending hashtags at the moment.
How to Use Hashtags on Facebook
When you are trying to get more exposure for your Facebook posts, using hashtags may help as they can boost organic reach. On Facebook, it’s important not to use too many hashtags. Usually, it’s recommended to only use one or two. More than that will make you seem unprofessional and could annoy those reading your posts.
You can find relevant hashtags to use by simply typing a keyword into the search bar on Facebook.
It may also be worth going back to your top-performing Facebook posts and reposting them with relevant hashtags. This not only reuses old content that resonated with your followers but may attract new ones that may have an interest in your product or service.
How to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn
On LinkedIn, people haven’t always used hashtags, but they work on this platform the same way as any other. As of yet, LinkedIn doesn’t allow clickable hashtags in the body of the articles so you will need to use hashtags in the body of your post to get your article discovered.
One to three hashtags are usually recommended for LinkedIn. These can be added using the ‘Add’ button under ‘Hashtags’.
The use of hashtags on LinkedIn can get your posts in front of people outside of your network. Let’s say you have 500 LinkedIn connections, posting without a hashtag limits your content to that network. However, if you use a hashtag such as #marketing, you may triple the number that sees the post, driving up your post engagement and credibility.
How to Use Hashtags on Instagram
You can use as many as 25 hashtags on a regular post on Instagram. You probably don’t need to use that many, but it’s good to know that using more is acceptable here, so you can experiment.
Use the search box to see what hashtags your competitors or other influencers use to engage on Instagram. Since this is the best platform for multiple hashtags, try a wide variety and use them on posts, photos, and comments.
How to Use Hashtags on TikTok
TikTokers use hashtags on their videos to categorise content. These hashtags are also clickable, meaning that your content will feature alongside other relevant videos. Like the other social media platforms, using hashtags on TikTok helps to increase reach and helps the TikTok algorithm to decide which users see your content on the all-important ‘For You’ (main) page.
The limit for captions on TikTok is 100 characters, so keep within that limit for any hashtags. That’s plenty of room to allow you to experiment to see what works. Try to mix it up by using popular and niche hashtags to get the most reach.
Designing a Hashtag Strategy
Choose specific hashtags whenever possible, because the more specific you can get, the more likely you are to attract a targeted audience. Using capital letters at the front of each word, although not required, clarifies what you are trying to communicate.
Your competition is probably already using hashtags in their social media strategy. How successful are they at engaging your mutual audience? Pay attention to how much or how little they use hashtags and what the response is.
There are no definitive answers when it comes to which hashtags you should use or how you should approach your strategy. A successful hashtag strategy starts with knowing your audience and taking the time to be familiar with what works on each platform. Beyond that, you will continue to learn what works (and what doesn’t) by using hashtags as part of your social media strategy and analyzing your results.
Hashtags are a great tool for communicating with your followers as well as increasing engagement and attracting new customers.
Use Hashtags to be a Digital Marketing Superstar
And now you know how to best use hashtags in your social media game, and level up on your digital marketing strategy.
Still unsure how your brand should be tackling social media, I Concept may be able to help!
As a Top Creative Agency in Singapore, we have years of experience in social media management and digital marketing, working with many of your familiar brands to help with their social media strategies.
With an understanding of your preferences and your business needs, our team of experienced strategists and designers will guide you to creating quality posts content and draw up effective campaigns, helping you reach your target audience. Get in touch with us today!