How to Use Hashtags on Social Media
Hashtags are an important part of your social media strategy. It is essential that you understand what a hashtag is, the purpose of hashtags, platform best practices, and the various types of hashtags. Once you understand how hashtags can be used, you will be ready to outline your hashtag strategy.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#). A hashtag can include letters and numbers, but not symbols, punctuation, or spaces. Hashtags are very common on social media and can be placed anywhere in your post (the beginning, middle, or end). Capital letters for the first letter of each word can help improve readability and comprehension.
A hashtag is used within a post to identify a keyword or topic of interest. Hashtags help facilitate searches on social media platforms and can be thought of as a “label” or “category.”
Purpose of Hashtags
When you include a hashtag in your post, it is a way of categorizing your post for a specific topic of interest or keyword. The hashtag makes it easier to search for related posts. You can think of a hashtag as a label. It helps others who are interested in a specific topic easily find a related post.
What are the benefits of using a hashtag and why should you use them:
Hashtags make your post easier to find, which increases the likelihood that individuals will engage with your content (i.e. reactions, comments, & shares).
Brand Your Content
Branded hashtags help brand your content, enable fans to use the hashtag and get on your radar, increase brand awareness, and promote brand recognition.
Expand Your Reach
Hashtags enable your posts to show up for a given topic of interest and help you reach interested individuals who are searching for that topic.
When you use a hashtag, make sure it has a purpose. Only use them when they add value to your post and are likely to increase your reach or engagement.
Platform Best Practices
The appropriate use of hashtags depends on the platform.
1-2 Hashtags for Facebook
Use hashtags with caution. The more hashtags you use, the fewer interactions your post will get.
9-15 Hashtags for Instagram
Instagram algorithms favor a large number of hashtags. The more hashtags you use, the more likely the engagement.
1-5 Hashtags for LinkedIn
Hashtags promote discover-ability. As a professional platform, be appropriate for business & be deliberate with use.
1-2 Hashtags for Twitter
Use your limited characters wisely & include up to 2 hashtags per post. Twitter is great for trending hashtags.
Types of Hashtags
There are so many different types of hashtags out there! To avoid feeling overwhelmed and to promote consistency, you can create a hashtag strategy and outline various types of hashtags that are appropriate for your brand. Without a strategy, you may stumble by choosing inappropriate hashtags that make your posts seem cheesy or make you seem as if you are trying way too hard! Below is a list of various types of hashtags to get you started:
1) Branded Hashtags
Create a hashtag for your brand to help identify owned content and user-generated content. It might be your company name, tagline, or brand name. Make sure the hashtag is unique and catchy. Also, make sure you specify the appropriate use.
For some businesses, it might make sense to have a general company-branded hashtag as well as content-specific hashtags. If you have a book, blog, podcast, or video series, you could create a content-specific hashtag that categorizes all of your content together.
Other businesses may lean towards campaign hashtags. If you are a non-profit running a fundraising campaign, definitely consider a campaign hashtag.
2) Industry & Niche Hashtags
Research popular hashtags in your industry to expand your reach. Think about how you classify your products and/or services. Industry hashtags are broad and often competitive, but they help the platforms better categorize your posts and help you expand your reach.
Industry and niche hashtags each have their own place in the customer journey. When we first start searching for a product, we start broad (i.e. photographer). As we fine-tune our needs, we get more specific (#productphotographer). Industry hashtags can help you reach customers early on your customer journey, while niche hashtags can help you target customers further along their journey.
To get started brainstorming appropriate hashtags, google “hashtag generator” and you have countless options to consider. A few options include: Instavast (one of our favorites!), All Hashtag, and RiteTag.
3) Location Hashtags
You can use location hashtags to highlight the location you are posting from and to help you reach others nearby. Location hashtags are great for local small businesses! You might even consider pairing your location with your niche and/or industry to reach local individuals searching for your solutions!
4) Event Hashtags
Event hashtags are great for events, weddings, sports, tradeshows, conferences, etc. Event hashtags allow you to find people who are attending and posting the same event. Most events will predominantly display their hashtag on your name tag, promotional materials, or screens.
5) Day of the Week Hashtags
For content inspiration, make a list of applicable daily hashtags. For example, you might consider using #ThankfulThursday to thank a client for their business.
6) Hashtag Holidays
Research hashtag holidays and note those applicable to your business. With so many possibilities, you can definitely identify 5-10 hashtag holidays that are perfect for your business! if you looking for a list of hashtag holidays month by month, here’s a link to a fantastic list of hashtag holidays.
7) Trending Hashtags
You cannot plan these hashtags, but you can be opportunistic! Always make sure you have a full understanding of what the hashtag means before using it!