A Guide to Using Social Media Hashtags
When blended with a perfect message length, frequent posting, and ideal platform for your readers, properly used hashtags are the final step for a comprehensive, focused social media marketing plan.
What Is a Hashtag?
First used in 2007 on Twitter to group topics, hashtags (the pound symbol followed by a word string) have since become a mainstay for online marketing. Hashtags connect posts to a singular topic, theme, event, or dialogue, providing a simple way for social media users to find posts related to their interests.
Hashtags always begin with the pound symbol (an octothorpe) followed by short text without punctuation, spaces, or symbols. Limit the number of words in your string, as the most effective hashtags are usually brief and memorable. When developing a new hashtag of your own, first do a search to make sure it isn’t already used in another context.
For marketers, they can expand post interaction, help you connect to intended readers, and reinforce your brand recognition. Hashtags can help you promote new as well as current products or services. They can also help to put your message into context, conserving limited character space.
An ideal marketing strategy should use a mixture of hashtags that are trendy, relevant, and specific to your brand. Branded hashtags use your brand’s name or slogan, or incorporate the name into a tagline.
Placing appropriate keywords as social media hashtags also can allow a brand to market to an audience beyond their current connections. As Instagram and LinkedIn allow users to follow hashtags, not just other accounts, placing several popular hashtags in your posts can help those following those hashtag feeds to discover your brand.
Even today, hashtags are prominent on Twitter for identifying and categorizing trending subjects. For Twitter posts, which are limited to 280 characters, it’s recommended to include just one or two hashtags within a post. Hashtags are usually at the end of posts, but you can use them anywhere in your message as well as in your Twitter bio, your Retweet comments, and in replies. As Tweets aren’t case-sensitive, you can place capitalization at the beginning of each word contained in the hashtag string for legibility: #ExampleTweet.
Since 2013 Facebook has been using hashtags. It’s not likely you’ll find hashtags in personal posts, but it’s commonplace for marketing. Like Twitter, it’s recommended to have only one or two hashtags within a post. You can place hashtags in any section of your text or comments. Being integrated with Instagram, marketers using both platforms should use hashtags on Facebook to promote between both platforms and double their outreach.
Instagram loves hashtags and allows the most on any social media platform. Your post can have more than 30 hashtags and additional ones in the comment section. Still, Instagram recommends three to five per post as the optimal hashtag amount. You can also add hashtags to your profile bio. Hashtags can be placed at the end of your post or placed at the beginning for emphasis. However, placing them in the middle will make it difficult for text-to-speech users to understand your post.
To bring more viewers to your account, make sure your hashtags describe your post’s message, match your business and sector, and contain terms used by your audience.
If you have an Instagram Business account, you have access to Instagram Insights. Instagram Insights will allow you to view the number of impressions your profile received through hashtags.
A social media platform geared toward business professionals, LinkedIn lets you use hashtags for engagement with topics pertaining to your brand. Keep your hashtags professional and don’t overdo them. Use fewer than five for each post, placed anywhere in your post. Although there’s still debate as to the effectiveness of LinkedIn hashtags, it’s still worthwhile to use them.
For adding hashtags to YouTube listings, place them in your video title or in your video’s description. The best number is three to five hashtags, and no more than 15 to avoid being flagged. Clicking the hashtag hyperlink will take you to a feed that lists other videos sharing that hashtag.
Although Pinterest is known more for its keywords, proper hashtag placement can boost your content considerably. For optimal results, use fewer than five hashtags and create specific, searchable hashtags with relevant keywords.
For business, add hashtags when creating a description for your Pin or in a text description while Repinning.
TikTok hashtags are placed in video clip descriptions in addition to the Discover page. The preferred number is three to five hashtags. For best results, add a mixture of trending and niche hashtags.
On the Discover page, you can see trending hashtags and what videos are using them. To locate hashtags of interest, use the search bar.
Finding the Best Hashtag for Your Brand
Discovering the best hashtags that align with your audience, brand, and industry requires some investigation.
- Research hashtags of competitors and social media influencers. Note the context of the hashtags, along with how many and how often they’re used, and audience interaction. Doing so will give you insight into how your competitors are connecting with the target audience you both have in common.
- Keep Current on Trending Hashtags. There are several hashtag apps that generate hashtag suggestions based on your post’s text or image content.
- Use a Social Media Listening Tool. Social media tools let you harness search streams for learning what hashtags work best for each social platform where you have a presence. Using these tools, you can tell which hashtags are heavily trending and most influential.
- Use Similar Hashtags. If you’ve already found hashtags that have proven effective for your business, think about using similar but perhaps more specific hashtags. This strategy could allow you to be seen by a more precise demographic.
- Study Your Most Popular Past Hashtags. Keep a listing of hashtags from past posts. Study the most popular ones and look for any trends with these. If some always use several of the same hashtags, plan to add these hashtags to subsequent posts, too.
Increasing Organic Scope Through Hashtags
By using a hashtag in your post, those searching that hashtag can discover you. The optimal method for boosting your post’s organic range is through using hashtags that correlate with your brand and industry. Find your industry’s most popular, effective hashtags and incorporate them into your posting.
Whether you’re currently using hashtags or are a novice to them, now is the time to sharpen your hashtag strategies for your next social media campaign, bringing more awareness to your brand.