Have you ever heard of hashtags before? Of course you have! These are such popular “words” that can link out your post to millions of other users who don’t even follow you (yet!). Using these are beneficial for influencers and businesses alike, the reason why you see a lot of the # sign, complete with a relevant keyword to their niche and post.
But using a hashtag is more than just adding words and phrases. You have to make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant and WILL be viewed by your target audience. But where do you start?
Read on as I show you how to use hashtags effectively!
Table of Contents
What Are Hashtags and How Do They Work?
You’re probably wondering: What are hashtags in the first place?
Well, the hashtag symbol began to come up in the 14th century, so it’s been used for other purposes and not just for technology. It’s actually referred to as lb, which is the Latin abbreviation for pound. It’s why the symbol was actually called the pound sign or the octothorpe (official name) before it became the hashtag.
The octothorpe was invented by telephone technicians as they added this to telephone keypads. It only became a hashtag once it grew popularity on social media. The hashtag’s first appearance was on Twitter, suggested by a user in 2007 to use these signs for creating groups. It all started with Chris Messina, a former Google employee who worked as a developer and designer in the company.
After that, the use of hashtags increased quickly and became the staple on many social media platforms today. You can now find it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many other areas online to easily find specific posts.
How Do Hashtags Work?
Hashtags are used around many social media platforms though they have their similarities and differences, depending on where you use it in.
Hashtags are used in posts and content, and the entire content will be indexed by the social media platform, thus being searchable or discoverable by other users (even if you aren’t followed by them).
When you click on the hashtag, you won’t find just your content, but to a page with other posts that have used that similar hashtag. And when a hashtag picks up momentum and is shared or mentioned more than others, it becomes trending (depending on the location, followings, and interests of a user).
Like mentioned, hashtags are used differently per social media platform, such as:
Twitter is where the hashtag was born, used to denote particular topics of conversation. You can see that in the trending sidebar area of your account, there s a curated list of hashtags based on your location and interests.
One can filter their search of hashtags here three different ways:
- Top- displayed relevant and popular posts
- All- shows ALL tweets of this who use the hashtag
- People you follow- shows tweets only posted by those you follow
Hashtags have existed since 2007, but Facebook only picked it up in 2013, though not as popular as hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. It still has the similar use as Twitter’s hashtags and can be filtered to view per location, person who posted, and other factors.
Hashtags can be used to discover other accounts and gain followers or engagement. They can also be used as “challenges,” such as #ThrowbackThursday, encouraging users to post photos. Former app Vine used hashtags in similar manner, so it increases exposure and share-ability.
When clicking on a hashtag on Google+, you’ll see results that contain the original hashtag AND related tags or keywords. It also provides search results display beside the hashtag result, also giving you the option to search hashtags on Facebook and/or Twitter.
It’s great for finding people or information about the hashtag you searched from, a bit different from the purposes of other hashtags on social media.
Before posting on Tumblr, you’ll be sent to a special Tag section where you can enter tags or hashtags. You don’t need to add the # symbol, as the website or app will do it for you automatically.
They can also be included on the main body of your post, which do NOT transform into links. The tags have a similar purpose on helping you find specific posts.
Pinterest hashtags are used for marking and searching for content. Similar to Twitter, you just need to click on a hashtag located on the pin’s description, so you can navigate results which have the exact hashtag, as well as pins that use similar words or phrases.
You can also use hashtags on LinkedIn to receive updates of brands or people It can raise brand awareness for companies!
The Benefits of Using Hashtags
You know the use of hashtags, but what exactly makes these so beneficial in terms of building your brand, may it be in business or as a personal influencer. That depends on how you use it, but when done right, you’re able to grow and expand in many ways.
Here are the benefits using hashtags have to offer:
Have Bigger Reach and Visibility
When a hashtag is popular or trending, many users will want to track and monitor the stories and opinions, even those they don’t follow. Because of this, you can take advantage of using a hashtag, which helps increase your post and brand’s visibility to increase your audience.
Even people who don’t know or follow you may have piqued interest in what you post, checking your profile to see what else you have to offer. You can read this when using popular hashtags related to your niche. See our list of popular influencer niches.
Add Your Post to Existing Stories
Hashtags are used by big news outlets and the like for you to easily follow. Many users also use these hashtags to get discovered or to view other accounts’ opinions on the trending matter.
Because of this, you are able to add your opinion or follow-up using these hashtags, adding what you think or know to these existing stories. More people will see your update this way, rather than it just begin limited to those who follow you right now. It’s great in keeping your brand relevant and updated!
Categorize Your Updates
Using the right type and amount of hashtags, you can categorize your updates, making it more visible to your target audience and people searching under the category you used the hashtag in. It helps categorize and specify your updates, giving indication to what your post is about.
Furthermore, it can help you with archiving and categorizing updates for your records, in case it’s needed. So not only does this benefit for people’s sake, but for the business and brand as well.
How does using a hashtag increase engagement? This is because more people will see your hashtag and post, especially when it’s trending. You’re also able to see who’s talking about the similar niche or topic your brand focuses on, which helps you engage with more people, even beyond your following! (https://www.reliablesoft.net/what-are-hashtags-and-how-to-use-them/#why-hashtags)
Furthermore, you’re also able to know more about what’s trending and follow this for your next content marketing strategies. It helps to know what’s hot and how to keep conversations going, which is what the next benefit is all about.
Join and Interact With Communities
When you search for a hashtag, you’ll see that there are many people using it, all of them talking about the story or opinion. May it be a review of a specific product, a news piece, or even tips and advice, you can see where they stand and it gives you the chance to put your brand out there through replying. And again, no need to be limited to who you follow or who follows you back when interacting!
That way, you can communicate with clients and potential customers, building your brand and reputation. It helps in piquing people’s interests as you reply and talk with people who want to interact with the industry.
How to Use Hashtags
Now that you’re familiar with how hashtags work and the benefits it offers, how can you take advantage of them for your business? Again, using hashtags has its pluses, but only if you use it right. So I’ll be separating these into sections to understand how to use hashtags wisely.
How to Use Hashtags on Twitter
Twitter is the original platform where hashtags were created and used. Yes hashtags help with engagement, though it’s best to limit your usage to two hashtags per tweet for maximum engagement. This is because of the character limit and based on studies that those with more than three hashtags actually have a drop in engagement.
I recommend that you look into the trending hashtags and utilize the popularity, especially when it’s related to your industry. Tailor the trends to the location and interests you use. You can also search for particular hashtags and all tweets on it, saving it for future references as well. Simply type your own hashtag to create your own, or select from the list curated by Twitter.
How to Use Hashtags on Instagram
Twitter is the original place to use hashtags, but Instagram is where many people utilize it most with photos. You can actually see a ton of hashtags per post, unlike the recommended two or three hashtags on other social media platforms. You can use as much as 11 hashtags on Instagram and get the great engagement and reach!
Yes, interaction would increase when you use over ten hashtags per post. But do take note that you can use up to 30 hashtags and can’t use any symbols. Just make sure that you avoid flooding it with irrelevant hashtags, which looks silky and can even bring down your engagement. Remember to use only relevant ones that others use for better reach and numbers.
How to Use Hashtags on Facebook
While Facebook isn’t the best platform to utilize hashtags, it still helps in looking for fellow brands and users interested in your niche. The similar rules apply to Twitter, posting the hashtag with the # symbol and without spaces, also searching for hashtags on the search bar.
Only use one or two hashtags, as interactions begin to lessen once it hits over five hashtags in one post. Furthermore, make sure that you share your post with everyone (or public), which will show on all search results when Facebook users look for that specific hashtag. Make sure that your entire Facebook page or profile is on public and with the ability for people to follow, react, or comment on the said post.
How to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn
LinkedIn once removed the use of hashtags but is now supported again. It’s similar to using these on other social networks, though having no limit as to how many you can use it. You can search for related hashtags though the search bar and post your own for each update you create.
However, make sure that you use your hashtags wisely and with relevance to have it reach the target audience. It’s best to only use two hashtags per post and to add only the best and most popular ones related to your niche. (https://www.reliablesoft.net/what-are-hashtags-and-how-to-use-them/#twitter)
Furthermore, make sure that your posts are on public and can be visible to everyone for anyone to view your article when they search for the hashtags. Also, take note that you CAN’T remove or edit hashtags, but can only edit the article.
How to Use Hashtags on Tumblr
Using hashtags on Tumblr is simple yet with a slightly different layout. Instead of seeing hashtags at the end of your text body, you’ll see it in the bottom of your post, not the most visible but used mainly for searches. (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/how-to-use-hashtags/)
To add hashtags on Tumblr, create a new post and you’ll see the section named “Tags” at the bottom of it. Start adding the relevant hashtags you want to place in your post to map it searchable. Tumblr will add a hashtag to it automatically, so no need to add the # symbol before the word or phrase. I suggest that you add only up to four or five hashtags for every post to prevent over-flooding and the like.
How to Use Hashtags on Pinterest
I highly recommend that you use hashtags on Pinterest, which has your content viewed by more and for you to be able to find content you like. Like other social media networks, you can tag your posts with hashtags without spaces or symbols.
These tags will then become links, leading to other related pins when you click on it. You’ll find that pins with most interactions will be shown first when clicking on a hashtag. Though not official, I suggest that you us only about three hashtags per post, as this prevents over flooding and still helps you get your content out there.
How to Use Hashtags on Google+ and Search Results
Google+ uses a different method of hashtags, though it’s more intelligent than others. You’re able to enter your own hashtags, but it also adds more hashtags to posts that might not include them. It’s the reason why you notice how posts without hashtags already have added ones based on its content.
Simply click on a hashtag and you can see the related posts. Check out the EXPLORE tab on the top menu to look at trending hashtags and search on posts related to the hashtag you want. It’s best to use three trending and relevant hashtags, which is better than not adding anything and having the system do it on its own. It gives you a bit more control of who sees your posts.
As for Google search results, you can’t post anything obviously, but it can be used for searching. Simply type in the hashtag you’re interested in searching and you get popular and informative results from Twitter and Google+, sometimes on other social networks, too.
Basic Hashtag Rules
Creating your own hashtag is a bit difficult unless your brand is highly relevant and will be picked up by many followers. That’s why I recommend that you do your research, as using hashtags is similar to using keywords to make your posts easily searched for and viewed. Here are some of the basics when using hashtags and what type to use:
Be Specific and Relevant
For starters, I recommend that you stay specific and select your audience which relates to your brand and industry. Engage with a passionate community, which helps raise awareness for your business and encourages people to see what you have to offer. (https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-hashtags/)
Cater To The Social Network
This is the reason why I mentioned all the relevant social networks above and how to use it, so you’re able to cater the hashtags properly. Remember to use the right amount of hashtags and to always focus on relevance over the number of hashtags you use. Read how to find influencers to help boost your brand.
Relevant and Unbranded
Your brand’s hashtags shouldn’t mention the brand name but to represent it and what it means. This encourages followers to post using the hashtag, which can also be used for promotional posts and the like. It engages users and collects their ideas, which can be used for future references and content.
Not TOO Long or “Clever”
When creating your own hashtag, keep it short and not TOO specific. This is to avoid discouraging people from typing a too-long hashtag or something too clever to the point it won’t be searched by many. Basically, avoid being too complicated.
Avoid Hashtagging ALL Words
Do NOT use hashtags in all words, as this makes it look too spammy or desperate to be seen. Rather, be specific and only use the relevant hashtags to attract genuinely interested people who want to see more of your brand. Plus, who would want to view posts that contain only hashtags? People would only do this as a joke or in an ironic manner.
Creating Your Own Hashtag
When creating your own hashtag, make sure that it hasn’t been used before and make it short yet understandable. Use it in promotional materials and encourage people to use it in related tweets, too! This helps get others talking about you. (https://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/)
It’s best to follow trends to make it more visible to many people who are talking about it right now, especially when it’s related to your brand. BUT, avoid using trending hashtags that aren’t relevant to brands, as this looks spammy!
Generate Some Buzz
If you created your own hashtag, you’ll want to create some buzz for more conversation and engagement! Create contests, raffles, or other promos that will have people continue to post and talk about your brand, knowing there’s something to win after.
And lastly, make sure that you add some context to your post rather than simply add media and hashtags. It doesn’t add much to the conversation and makes it too boring to interact with. Be fun and engaging when making posts!
Wrapping It Up
Using hashtags is quite beneficial, but only if you know how to do it! There are strategies on how to use them according to your niche, and if you do it right, you can widen your reach and engagement. And that’s when the results will come, may it be popularity, engagement, and even more potential clients.
Hopefully, this article on how to use hashtags helped you know where to begin. So what are you waiting for? Try utilizing any of these tips today!
If you have any questions or want to learn more about our USA influencer marketing agency, then contact us today.