The Complete Guide to Hashtags
With the rise of businesses having more of a social media presence, it’s important for businesses, brands, marketers and influencers to be reaching out to audiences and boosting new potential customers via social media platforms.
A hashtag is a label used on social media sites that makes it easier to find posts of information with a theme or contains specific content. It is created by including the symbol ‘#’ in front of words or words without spaces”. Hashtags are used across various social media platforms. They help simplify the process of finding a post, tweet or video of the content you are searching for. Also an action is created because a user will then spend time looking through a particular hashtag if they see content they like brought up by that original hashtag. The main benefit of a hashtag is that it helps people find information more easily on social media.
We’ll look at how to use hashtags on 3 different social media sites: Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without any”. Using relevant hashtags can help you get discovered by new audiences which then result in more followers.
There are many different types of Instagram hashtags and understanding them will help you develop your own ‘Instagram hashtag strategy’. These types include:
- Community hashtags: connecting like-minded users for a subject that is specific (your product, industry, seasons, locations).
- Branded hashtags: hashtags unique to a particular business (company name).
- Campaign hashtags: shorter term hashtags that relate to a specific campaign your business or industry is running (new products, launches, partnerships, events).
Using the most popular hashtags on Instagram may not boost your content or followers as much, so it’s better to use hashtags that are ‘more niche’, smaller and are relevant to your industry with an engaged audience. Looking at specific topics and themes is a good way to create those ‘niche’ hashtags. Also researching your audience before is key to finding out the hashtags your audiences are using, keeping them relevant with key words. When posting, post a comment below with the hashtags (write them in the caption first, then copy and paste them down immediately after sharing the post).
Hashtags on Twitter are similar to Instagram, but different in terms of how they engage audiences. Hashtags were first seen on Twitter in 2007 and originated there. Using hashtags to refer to a specific topic is the best way to use hashtags on Twitter. Topics can include: events, places, themes, things, verbs, industry terms and sometimes ‘twitter chats’.
On Twitter, you can use more than one hashtag anywhere within the tweet, however Twitter recommends using two or less hashtags per tweet. To check where the most trending hashtags are you can use the left-handed sidebar under where your profile is and it gives you the option to view the top 10 trends personalised for you based on who you follow and also where your location is. With trends, you can get topics as well as hashtags. It’s easy also to select another location and not keep your tailored trends.
Studies show that tweets which include hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted than those without them. When considering hashtags for your business, think about whether your audience will engage with a tweet that is relevant around the subject of the hashtag. To check the relevancy of your hashtags on Twitter, see what influencers use and the definition of any existing hashtags. Take into consideration the length of the hashtag – keep it short and make sure it exists already.
Identifying topics on twitter using hashtags is a great way to start the process of boosting more followers for your business.
LinkedIn uses hashtags in a similar way to Instagram and Twitter. But because LinkedIn is solely used as a business tool within social media, it’s important to make sure the hashtags used are more professional. Some popular hashtags that are trending on other sites may not be the best fit for LinkedIn.
When posting an update, adding hashtags to that post will help gain more audience and increase your chances of being noticed by other LinkedIn members. Also hashtags should come after ‘at least one line of descriptive copy’ with the addition of a ‘call-to-action’. Hootsuite recommends limiting each post to a maximum of five hashtags because using too many could make the algorithm on LinkedIn mistake your post for ‘spam’.
With your LinkedIn profile, if you want to start posting with hashtags, make sure posts and your profile are set to public so audiences can see the posts and engage with them. Similar to Instagram, finding your company ‘niche’ on LinkedIn through specific hashtags will help build a community of potential clients and customers therefore bringing more engagement throughout. Balancing the use of ‘niche’ and popular hashtags will also help with audience building.
Overall there are many differences but also similarities of how hashtags work across Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. This applies to all social media platforms that use hashtags and by making sure you’re up-to-date with the latest trends and most successful ways to post hashtags, this will help you get on the right track to being at the top of your #SocialMediaGame.