How to Use Hashtags on Social Media

April 14, 2022 | Lakshmi Venugopal | Hashtag Social Media

Over the years, hashtag has become a widely used and accepted term in our vocabulary. The hashtag sign (#) also known as the pound sign was commonly used as a number sign. Today, it is an essential tool for every social media strategy and can lead to very triumphant outcomes when used correctly.

If you’re wondering how you can use hashtags effectively to take your social media game to the next level, keep reading.

Any word or phrase that is preceded by the pound symbol (#) is called a hashtag on social media. While the pound symbol was generally used to indicate numbers, it was first used as a Twitter hashtag in 2007 by Chris Messina. He advised Twitter to utilize the pound symbol to put relevant Tweets together because of the compact nature of the platform.
“A hashtag typically signals to both users and algorithms that a particular piece of content is related to a specific topic or category. Therefore, relevant hashtags can make your content easily discoverable and reach a wider audience on social media platforms.”

“A hashtag typically signals to both users and algorithms that a particular piece of content is related to a specific topic or category. Therefore, relevant hashtags can make your content easily discoverable and reach a wider audience on social media platforms.”

BENEFITS OF USING HASHTAGS The benefits of using hashtags strategically are vast. Here are 5 benefits of using hashtags for your brand.
  1. Create brand awareness : Creating a unique branded hashtag is an effective way to build brand awareness. It can help to further promote your business and drive conversations. For example, #LikeAGirl by Unilever’s Always is a branded hashtag that was used by the brand in their campaign to break gender stereotypes and encourage girls across the world to keep their confidence through puberty and beyond. In addition to promoting the campaign, the hashtag also conveys the brand’s image, tone, and voice.

  2. Leverage trends and support social causes : Hashtags can be used by brands to show support for important social causes and issues beyond the brand. This way, not only do they become part of the movement but they also convey what the brand stands for. For instance, #BlackLifeMatters is a widely used hashtag among brands across the world to show their support for the Black Lives Matters movement that started in 2013. Similarly, hashtags are also a great way for brands to keep up with hot and trending topics at a given time.

  3. Reveal sponsored and paid content : Consumer awareness has seen increased over the years. As a result, they expect and demand transparency from brands, influencers, content creators, and celebrities alike. Hashtags can be used effectively to convey when a particular piece of content is an ad or a sponsored post. Simple and minimal hashtags such as #Ad or #PaidPartnership are used widely by brands to clearly distinguish between general content and promotional posts on social media.

  4. Effectively caption content : Sometimes, less is more on social media. Long captions may not be ideal because of the character limit on platforms such as Twitter or because people may just not be interested in reading long captions. Whatever the case may be, hashtags can be used to easily contextualise your message without using too many repetitive words and long captions. 
    WHO’s Twitter post celebrating World Emoji Day is a great example of how hashtags have been used to creatively contextualise posts. WHO used the #WorldEmojiDay and #HealthForAll to celebrate world emoji day while also promoting their primary goal of ensuring health for all.

  5. Discoverable content : Users have the option to follow specific hashtags on social media platforms such as Instagram and Linkedin. By using popular hashtags that your target audience is interested in, you can help them find you easily. For instance, popular hashtags such as #Fashion, #Travel, #tbt, and so on are used widely across social media posts. These hashtags have thousands of followers from all around the world, allowing your brand to reach a larger audience and grow its following.

To stand out on social media, your brand must use very specific and relevant hashtags. Here are 5 effective ways to find the best hashtags for your business:

  1. Perform competitive analysis : Monitoring competitors on social media within your brand’s niche is a great way to get insights into hashtags that would work best for your business. Not only will you understand commonly used keywords but also how the audience engages with them.
  2. Use digital marketing tools : Online digital marketing tools and applications can be used to help you find and understand trending hashtags that will work best for your business. Online sites such as Sked Social and Hashtagify. me can be used to find and analyze the popularity of hashtags. Rite Tag is another great tool that can be used to find the best hashtags based on your content.
  3. Indulge in social media listening : Social listening tools can be used to keep track of many social media channels in one spot. Brand mentions, relevant keywords, and direct feedback via tags and DMs can be monitored. The data is then analyzed to discover the most effective ways to improve your social media strategy, brand awareness, and social presence. Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Buzz Sumo are some of the popular social listening tools that you can use for your brand.
  4. Use related hashtags : Once you have a fair idea about the kind of hashtags that are working for your brand, you can consider using related hashtags that may be slightly more specific to your niche. For example, if #Fasion works well for your brand, you can consider using related tags such as #FashionPhotography and so on.
  5. Review past hashtag performance : Another effective way to find relevant hashtags for your business is to analyze the performance of hashtags on historic social media posts. This will help you identify the most and least effective hashtags and come up with a strategy accordingly.

Now that you have an idea about how to find and use the right hashtags, here are some best practices to keep in mind when using hashtags across social media platforms. 

  1. The optimal number of hashtags to use typically ranges from 2-3 across most social media platforms. However, you can use up to 5-10 hashtags on Instagram. 
  2. Make sure that your hashtags are short and effective without any space between the words and the hashtag sign. Long hashtags can be confusing and easily forgotten.
  3. Use specific and clear hashtags that are likely to be used by other social media users.
  4. Due to private account users on social media, you may not be able to completely comprehend the use and popularity of a certain hashtag. Keep watch of the public accounts that are using your hashtag, though.
  5. To emphasize the importance of your hashtag, start your caption or post with it. It can be used to highlight keywords in the middle and for context in the end which is the most effective way to use it.

Ultimately, hashtags are an excellent method to communicate with your audience and acquire new customers, making them an important aspect of any social media strategy. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hashtags, researching your target demographic and patiently figuring out what works best for your business on each platform is a wonderful place to start. As you use them more, you’ll eventually figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s time to start using hashtags to spice up your social media approach if you haven’t already