Hashtags have been commonplace across social media sites for a long while, but we still get asked the same questions today that we were asked when they first started appearing outside of Twitter. Everyone wants to know how to use Hashtags effectively, and although it is something we've discussed in the past, I thought it was time we resurrected the topic and covered off the basics! So, let's dive into some key questions…
Each social media post you write includes a keyword or keyphrase that could be used to label that post and categorise it under a specific topic or search term. The hashtag itself is that keyword/phrase with a ‘#' immediately before it and the spaces removed e.g. #WhatIsAHashtag
(It's worth noting that Hashtags are not case sensitive and do not contain punctuation.)
For LinkedIn, try to limit yourself to three hashtags and add them at the end of your text. Always lead with the most important or most relevant hashtag first. This is not for algorithmic purposes (although that used to be the case)! When we're reading a post and get to the hashtags at the end we start to ‘tune out' or move on as we know the content has ended. It's likely only the first hashtag that will get the attention of your readers.
Yes! Although Hashtags on Facebook have never really caught on in the UK in the same way they have on other social media platforms. From a user perspective, it is still important that we incorporate them into our posts. Follow the same rules for LinkedIn in terms of how many and the placement of your Hashtags on Facebook.
As we're limited on characters, on Twitter we always try to incorporate our Hashtags within the text of the Tweet itself. Try to limit yourself to two hashtags per tweet but since the increase in the character limit, three has become forgivable!
Instagram is the only platform (as things stand) where you can go Hashtag crazy! You can add up to a total of 30 Hashtags across your post and comments on each update. Your Instagram Stories are limited to 10 Hashtags per story.
Our recommendation is that each Instagram post has a minimum of 10 hashtags, and that you test the affects of adding additional hashtags in a comment under your post. For some accounts this greatly improves reach.
How Do I Know What Hashtags To Use?
There are loads of strategies I can share when it comes to researching Hashtags, and finding the best ones to use in general and the ones that might be trending today! However, I'm going to keep the answer to this brief for now.
You can research Hashtags by keeping an eye on what the influencers or thought leaders for your sector are using regularly. You'll likely find some key Hashtags appear regularly hidden among several day or trend-specific Hashtags. You'll need to keep an eye on this over time.
You can also use the following sites to help you identify relevant Hashtags, these sites will suggest what you should use based on an initial search or give you some inspiration based on the image you plan to post. They'll also give you an idea of how popular (or not!) the hashtags are too.
These are just six websites/apps but there are 100s out there to choose from. (If you're reading this and you have a recommendation, please let us know!)
Tips On How To Use Hashtags Effectively
There are already a few tips within this article that will help you when it comes to optimising your Hashtag use. However, there are a couple of additional things I'd like to leave you with…
- Do not go for Hashtags that have the biggest usage! If the Hashtag you want to use is being used in millions of posts, it's likely that your post will get drowned out by the noise. Instead, go for something mid-range where there's more chance of standing out. (This is especially when it comes to Instagram. Check out Emily's article about standing out on Insta!)
- Hashtags should, in my opinion, come in pairs. A pair contains one hashtag that is quite general and one that is super-specific. Working in this way makes it much easier to get to those initial 10 Hashtags too!
- Use the Notes feature on your phone to store your best Hashtags. It's an easy reference point when you're creating social media posts on the fly, and it also makes it easy when you can copy and paste your core Hashtags into Instagram specifically.
As I said, we're constantly being asked how to use Hashtags effectively and I hope this article has answered some questions you might have had. There's so much more we can share with you on the subject, so please, add your questions in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them for you!