Using hashtags is another popular way to distribute content and spark interest to your profile. They allow social media users to find and join multiple conversations that have little chance to be seen.
Still, I often notice that some people use them in posts without realizing what benefits they can reap from appropriate hashtags.
So this guide is for everyone who would like to become hashtag-literate on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
- What Are Hashtags?
- Why Use a Hashtag?
- How to Use Hashtags on Social Media
- Tools That Simplify Hashtag Research
- How Do You Use Hashtags?
What Are Hashtags?
Any formulation put into a single line of inseparable words and numbers, introduced by a hash mark (#), and designating a specific keyword, topic, or short message is the definition of a hashtag.
Adding one to your post, you make sure that the post will be indexed and appear in the separate feed when someone searches this particular phrase or clicks on it in other people’s posts.
The main purpose of hashtags is to help social media users get their posts discovered by topic, regardless of posting times. Additionally, they give you an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. Instagram is a vivid example of how a hashtag search looks like:
Why Use a Hashtag?
Drawing from my own experience, other relevant sources, and friends, I can say for certain that hashtags can light up your accounts with engagement. This especially holds true for people only starting a business and, respectively, launching their social media pages.
When I started integrating them into my posts, I noticed that people I hardly know began to follow me. It is a time-tested fact: Posts without an added hashtag have less engagement than they could get even with a single one.
This doesn’t mean that you should overuse them.
Apparently, there are many reasons and cases when you should use social media hashtags. One of them is to categorize your posts and make them discoverable by subject, as mentioned above.
— Steve Gutzler (@SteveGutzler) June 27, 2019
They also turn up helpful in bringing light and promoting specific events. The beauty of social media hashtags, however, is in their innate ability to let people participate in meaningful conversations.
In fact, checking hashtags popular with your audience, you can participate in numerous discussions and tell the world about the existence! Allow some wit in your comments and you won’t have to wait long.
How to Use Hashtags on Social Media
The best way to use hashtags, however, depends on which social network your activity falls on. Best practices differ when it comes to Facebook or Instagram, for example.
On different social channels, a hashtag would mean different use, considering the peculiarities of the audience. While on Instagram people expect you to use more #, on Facebook it may look inappropriate.
I’d single out three universal rules that apply to all hashtags on different social media networks:
- Never misspell the words. A single misprint gets your post in the inappropriate feed. Check twice.
- Use relevant and popular keywords. If you want your posts to get easily discovered, do your homework. Write hashtags that are the most popular and use them.
- Make sure that your hashtags are clickable. If they are, they will get indexed and displayed in the search results.
But if you’re in marketing and have to deal with different social networks, those rules won’t be enough. Check each social media below for advice.
How to Use Facebook Hashtags
Because most user profiles on Facebook are private, they are open only to the eyes of their friends. So the hashtags people use will be discoverable only to their friends. Still, you’ll be able to see them used by famous influencers or brands, whose profiles aren’t limited.
To perform a search, go to the search box and fill it in with the relevant hashtag. Then, you’ll most likely see the results of your friends using it.
When using hashtags on Facebook, it’s better to keep them to a minimum. One or two, with 10+ characters will suffice, according to Sprout Social’s research.
And by the way, the most popular hashtag on Facebook is #love.
There are some tips and tricks to boost engagement on Facebook through hashtags. Each of them has a unique URL with a status update box at the top. The first tip would be to drive traffic to that URL from other places to spark more conversation.
Additionally, you may include a hashtag when posting from your mobile phone. Even though your mobile device won’t recognize it, the desktop version will.
It’s also a good idea to use hashtags to have a conversation with a group. Every string of words will thus be grouped into its own status update box!
According to Social Bakers, for Facebook users, it’s better to capitalize the #FirstLetterInEachWord of your hashtag to make it more readable.
How to Use LinkedIn Hashtags
LinkedIn as a professional network is more famous for what I call serious business topics like #leadership, #softwareengineering, #realestate, etc.
Recently, LinkedIn allowed business pages to create brand hashtags people can immediately see visiting your page. Now they cannot only follow the page, but they can also follow your hashtag as well.
In contrast to other social networks, LinkedIn sometimes recommends a box of popular hashtags to follow in the feed and thus encourages you to participate in themes you like.
But how to use hashtags on LinkedIn? It’s best to include them in your posts on business or personal accounts, not groups.
The most popular ones on LinkedIn are #business, #work, #office, #success, #quotes, #inspiration, #entrepreneur, #life, #love, #happy, #HR, #jobs, #marketing, #sales, #leadership, #tips, #influencer, #successful, #worklife, #officelife, and others.
LinkedIn hashtags can help you expand the reach beyond your connections, to people who follow them.
#business, for example, has more than 2 million followers, and chances are that including it in a post, you can speak to some of them with your content.
How to Use Pinterest Hashtags
Remember that when it comes to Pinterest, there’s no reason to use hashtags in account descriptions, board titles, or profile names.
What differentiates Pinterest from other social networks is that hashtags are only clickable in the description of a Pin.
According to Rachel Ngom, a Pinterest strategist,
“Pinners can find you by searching for a specific keyword term OR a hashtag. Typically it can take some time for keywords to appear in search (like weeks or even months). But when a user searches a hashtag, the newest pins with that hashtag will appear at the top of the feed.”
At the same time, Peg Fitzpatrick, a popular social media speaker reveals the best practices when it comes to Pinterest hashtags. “Depending on your Pin, consider using hashtags that are timely (e.g., #oscars, #backtoschool, #halloween) and hashtags for evergreen content that works well on Pinterest (e.g., #mealplanning, #hairgoals, #homedecor),” points out the expert.
On the flip side, it has been reported that “having too many hashtags in your descriptions may negatively impact your ranking.” In fact, you can use only one in the description of the Promoted Pin.
How to Use Twitter Hashtags
It’s no secret, but the history of hashtags originates from Twitter, first used on this social platform in 2007:
Twitter encouraged to use them in tweets to make it easier for people to find relevant conversations and make descriptions shorter.
Instead of writing a long text, people would create a short one, full of hashtags, to make their tweets discoverable from different angles. However, it has been concluded that tweets with one hashtag can generate more engagement than posts with two or more.
To find hashtags on Twitter, just use the search bar.
Hubspot has analyzed millions of tweets and made a list of the most popular Twitter hashtags to get more likes and retweets. According to their research, the 25 best hashtags to use on Twitter can fit into five groups:
- History Months: #blackhistorymonth and #womenshistorymonth were ranked 5th and 6th spots, respectively.
- Holidays/Other Days: Aside from hashtags directly connected with the crypto world, the rest of the top analyzed included #happyeaster, #happybirthday, #internationalwomensday, #piday, #worldwaterday, and #starwarsday. #Fathersday, #maythe4thbewithyou, and #memorialday were in frequent rotation as well.
- Contests: To find a good contest to improve the engagement rate on Twitter, you can use #contest and #giveaway.
- Evergreen Content: These types of hashtags are universal but less topical and strong-performing – #photography, #funny, or #pets.
How to Use Instagram Hashtags
Making Instagram hashtags, you ensure that your photos all go into respective streams that can be found and followed using the search box.
People use them with the purpose of discovering content relevant to them, following like-minded professionals, and thus exposing themselves to a larger audience.
To keep yourself posted, just like on LinkedIn, you can now follow hashtags on Instagram.
To be more specific, one study has concluded that posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without on Instagram.
Overall, you can include no more than 30 hashtags per post.
Influencer Marketing Hub has collected the most used ones in the world into one list: #love, #instagood, #photooftheday, #fashion, #beautiful, #happy, #cute, #tbt, #like4like, #followme, #picoftheday, #follow, #me, #selfie, #summer, #art, #instadaily, #friends, #repost, #nature, #girl, #fun, #style, #smile, #food.
#Love has been used in 1.6 billion posts, while #instagood has recently crossed the threshold of 1 billion.
You can use the above in your own posts, but not too often because they can be easily crowded out. The best strategy would be to use hashtags that have less competition and can make your posts stand out in combination with the most popular ones.
Tools That Simplify Hashtag Research
Hashtag trends may change at lightning speed. Today people show their interest in a specific topic, tomorrow they no longer care. To know what’s buzzing, you might need to do research. Here are some tools to help you out:
- Brand24 is a social media monitoring tool that collects online mentions of predefined keywords and provides social media analytics. Brand24 analyzes millions of social media mentions to find these containing your keywords. Then, the tool analyzes all of these mentions to find top 100 most popular hashtags on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
- RiteTag, in turn, is a good search tool that’s applicable to Facebook. It gives you access to timely data showing your hashtag’s performance.
How Do You Use Hashtags?
Even though making hashtags seems like an easy task right now, you still need to think of the content that you’re going to use with those hashtags. Alone, they won’t save your engagement rate.
The more visual the content, the better! PromoRepublic’s library includes 100,000+ premade creatives that can be scheduled to be published on five different networks – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Just choose your industry and enjoy the process!