The use of hashtags has become a permanent part of social media, and is used by major brands in their ad campaigns; their usage has even extended to text messages, chats, and advertisements. Hashtags categorize content on social media, and in turn, allow people to discover your brand’s specific content and the varied interests of other social media users. However, unless you know how to utilize hashtags properly, they will yield you no benefit, so today we will discuss best practices for hashtag use on social media, particularly on Instagram and Twitter.
Social Media Hashtag Best Practices
Although the use of hashtags to group topics began with Twitter, hashtag usage has broadened to other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
Anyone can throw in a hashtag or two on a post, but there are a few key guidelines you should follow in order to maximize their effectiveness. Here are some reasons why you will want to learn how to properly utilize hashtags:
- Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without
- Brands can see a 50 percent increase in engagement when using hashtags.
Let’s take a look at a few strategic uses of hashtags that will dramatically boost your brand’s reach and engagement level.
Choose Hashtags for Each Platform
When creating or searching for hashtags on different social media networks, Twitter is where hashtag usage all began, so hashtags are more adaptable by nature on Twitter and more topic based. Results are displayed via popularity and relevancy and tweets are shown with a specific hashtag in real time.
Hashtags on Facebook reveal trending topics but are not as effective as they are on Twitter or on Instagram. We don’t often recommend their usage on Facebook.
On Instagram, hashtags actually help with brand discovery and to showcase your brand’s content. Hashtags form a kind of colony of users with shared interests who browse through images and engage with others, so the more original the better. Also, add them as your first comment to keep the legibility of your post easy.
With Tumblr, the hashtag symbol is added automatically, and entries are organized according to topics, as with Twitter.
Create Hashtags Exclusive to Your Brand
Carefully choose a hashtag that dovetails with your brand’s theme, mission statement, and values — the idea is to streamline all of your marketing efforts with clever, and consistent messages about who your brand is, and what your brand, say Coca-Cola, stands for. #GamingGoesBetterWithACoke
Once you’ve chosen a few brilliant business hashtags, don’t forget to include them in all of your marketing efforts, such as print, flyers, event announcements, email signature, and business cards. Now virtually all brands include their business hashtags on television advertisements.
Always Strive for Original and Diverse Hashtags
When you’re shopping around for hashtags, pretend you’re out looking for a new house or apartment — take your time and be selective, be particular. Don’t settle for 2nd best. Do a little hashtag research for ideas and write them down. Then check each network to see what content is being associated with those tags. If your competition and your customers are utilizing those hashtags, then you’re on the right path.
Don’t get lazy and use unoriginal hashtags such as #followforfollow. Those offer no long-term benefit and are too broad and spammy to help you see an ROI from your efforts. Those hashtags are a waste of time and opportunity. The people and brands that use those tags are not your customers. The name of the hashtag game is conversions, so having a targeted audience is more important than numbers.
We have put together a hashtag directory for different industries and holidays so that you have a great place to get started.
Review and refresh old hashtags on a consistent basis to spike more interest from your followers. Specificity breeds intensity, so the more specific you can get with your hashtags, the more calculated the response will be from your audience, the more intense their reaction will be, and the livelier the level of engagement.
Simplicity and Trends
We suggest the use of no more than three hashtags per post on Twitter, all 30 on Instagram, and none on Facebook.
Determine what hashtags are trending, and use them only if they are relevant to your brand. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags no matter how popular. Find and use the keywords and hashtags associated with your brand.