Posted: Mon 14th Dec 2020
You will probably have heard people say that hashtags play an important role in social media. The reason for this is that they can help to boost your brand awareness and engagement with your posts, which can ultimately lead to new clients and customers, which are vital to the profitability and success of any business.
With this in mind, this blog post will explore what hashtags are, why you should use them, general hashtag tips, how many hashtags you should be using, and how to follow hashtags.
What are hashtags?
Hashtags are simply a way of connecting posts on a specific topic, theme, event, etc. together. By inserting a # symbol followed by a word or phrase and numbers, they create a clickable link which when clicked will display a list of posts that all contain that particular hashtag.
Why should you use them?
They are an easy way for your content to be seen by people who may not be following you but are following specific hashtags
They increase the engagement and conversation with your content in the form of likes, comments and shares, which keeps your current followers engaged and often results in new followers
They help increase your brand awareness
It's easy to create your own hashtags since there is no formal process to register a hashtag; you just simply start using it. However, it is worth checking that no one else is using it first for their brand if you want it to be a unique to yours.
They are great to use when you are running an event or promotion to build up the conversation and discussion and reach a wider audience.
Tips for using hashtags
When it comes to using hashtags in your posts, there are some general tips that you should follow:
There should be no spaces between within the hashtag, e.g. #hashtag1hashtag2.
You can use a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. However, you need to bear in mind that hashtags are case-specific, e.g., #Hashtag and #hashtag are interpreted as two different hashtags and would not bring up the same results, unless they contain both hashtags.
You should create your own brand-specific hashtag if you are running an event as this can help to create a buzz about your event and get people talking about it.
Think about what your customers and clients will be searching for when deciding on hashtags.
Keep them simple and specific so that they are easy to read and understand.
Do not use any special characters or punctuation in your hashtags.
Include any brand-specific hashtags in your marketing materials and encourage your clients and customers to use them.
It is useful to have a list of hashtags you regularly use in your posts and either save these in a notes app, a social media scheduling tool or a file on your computer, so you have them to refer to and use.
Ensure that you use hashtags that are relevant to the content of your post; don't just use them for the sake of it.
Use both broad and specific/niche hashtags with a mixture of popular and less popular options, as this can help your content stay at the top of people's feeds for longer.
Review the impact of any hashtags you use and if you find that some result in greater post engagement, create more posts that incorporate these hashtags.
How many hashtags should you use?
At present, the advice from Facebook itself is that you should use hashtags in your posts - ideally one to three, ensuring they are relevant to the content of the post.
With Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post but, ideally, you should look to use 12-15.
On LinkedIn use up to three hashtags per post and, as LinkedIn is a professional business platform, ensure that the hashtags you use reflect this.
With Pinterest, the current advice is to use hashtags. You can use up to 20, but the recommendation is that you use two to five which you add into the description, remembering that they count towards the 500-character limit.
With Snapchat, you can use hashtags in the search bar to search for news stories. Other than that, hashtags don't work on this platform.
When it comes to TikTok, there is no recommended number of hashtags that you should use, but you need to bear in mind that you only have a 100-character caption limit - and this includes the hashtags. Also, the longer your caption, the more your video that is covered by the caption and hashtags.
On Twitter use two to three hashtags per tweet, but remember with this platform any hashtags you use count towards the 280-character limit. Therefore, you need to use them wisely.
With YouTube, you can add hashtags to the video title and description. However, if you only add hashtags to the video description, then the first three hashtags in this description will appear above the video title on the page. Again, with YouTube, you should use three to four hashtags per video.
It is worth following any hashtags related to the products you sell and the services you offer, industry-specific ones and those of your competitors. The advantage of doing this is that you can easily see what conversations are taking place on social media and join in where appropriate, e.g. to show how your product or service can help solve problems potential clients or customers are facing. It could provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise if you are running a service-based business.