The use of hashtags in social media marketing remains one of the best ways to reach and engage your prospects online.
However, learning how to use hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on is crucial.
This practice is very popular.
But yet only a few people know the best way to use it.
The use of social media hashtags was started on Twitter by Chris Messina on August 23, 2007. It can be used to help users organize their tweets.
Far beyond this, knowing how to use hashtags in social media marketing is a good practice that can help you market your business online.
Sometimes, I come across people adding hashtags on both sides of their key terms, which is wrong.
NB. The term you’re tagging is as much important as where you put the hashtag (#). It must only come next to the sign without a space.
So, in this guide, we want to look at the following:
- What are hashtags and what are they used for?
- How to use hashtags in social media?
- Where should you put hashtags in your post?
- How many hashtags can you use at a time?
- What are common hashtags examples to use?
- Should you use profitable or popular hashtags?
Before answering these questions, let me, first of all, give you a hint.
Using hashtags in social media marketing would continue to be relevant.
As long as different information trends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, the practice would remain one of the best hacks for you.
As a digital marketer, learning how to use social media hashtags is very important.
What are hashtags?
Social media hashtag is a word or set of words preceded by the sign (#) such as #SaturdayVibes, #BringBackOurGirls and so.
They can be used for organizing and promoting content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so on.
According to Take Flyte, the use of hashtags in social media marketing is a good practice for organizing and promoting content that has them.
Any content that contains hashtags can easily be found and followed.
Twitter uses them as a way to make users add and group their contributions under an ongoing discussion or a matter that is trending.
When you use them rightly, people following or searching for related hashtags can find your posts or marketing campaigns.
That is, you can use hashtags to target the right audience for your business.
The magic is that each time users search Facebook with any of the hashtags used in the posts, there is a tendency they find my posts.
This means that posts that contain hashtags don’t go unnoticed.
Even, when you have forgotten about them, they still appear to the audience which they matter to. You can just see a new like from a post you published months back.
Why use hashtags in social media marketing?
Learning how to use hashtags the best way can make you achieve the following benefits:
- Engagement: A post that contains a few sets of hashtags relevant to your audience’s interests will engage more audience than the one without any hashtags.
- Promotion: Social media hashtags give your post the power to spread beyond your followers or immediate audience.
- Lead generation: Without much effort, social media hashtags can boost your leads or reach and explode your business online.
- Targeting: The practice can be used to make your content land directly in front of people who are in dire need of your content – product or service.
- Outreach: They can be used to gain more followers or connect with relevant experts in the industry. Even if the people don’t follow you, your hashtags can help your campaigns reach anyone that has something to do with the hashtags. So, the more relevant hashtags you use, the farther your business outreach is.
- Paid ad alternative: With the best use of hashtags in social media marketing, you can be in your room and manage to litter the internet with your posts without a paid ad. But yet that is not enough. If you’re not targeting the right audience, there won’t be any desirable conversion.
- Aesthetic: Using hashtags effectively in your posts can add some beauty to your content. They help bring attention to your keywords and compel clicks.
You can find different types of hashtags on Instagram or other social media platforms, depending on your circumstance.
In this section, you will find great examples you can explore.
These types of hashtags are used to target audiences or people with an interest in a location, e.g, Nigeria.
That makes any campaign containing hashtags related to Nigeria to be found by relevant audience.
Examples of location-based hashtags include:
#Asia #India #Mumbai #Africa #Nigeria #Lagos
These types of hashtags are event related or general hashtags.
They’re equally used to promote an event and target the audience following the event on social media.
Event-based hashtags are as well used to promote trending issues in society, politics, sports, business, economy, technology, education, religion, and so on.
Currently, there is an ongoing campaign against mobile telecommunications companies in Nigeria to reduce tariffs. The campaign is called #SaveMyData. It trends on Twitter.
During the last world breast cancer awareness day, we saw something like #NoBraDay.
Meanwhile, other examples of events-based hashtags include:
#BlackFriday #CyberMonday #TravelTips #MondayMotivations #ThrowbackThursday #SocialMediaRegrets and so on.
Branded hashtags are hashtags containing names or taglines of a person or an organization. You can use branded hashtags to promote your own brand, products, or services or to seek the attention of other brands that own them.
Branded hashtags include #SaveSandra #Cocacola #ShareACoke #Google #USGovernment #WHO #GoogleSearchEngine and so on.
How many hashtags to use?
There are lots of controversies as to how many hashtags to be used. Some social media marketers stick to a maximum of 5 to 6 and regard above 10 as spam.
Louise Meyer in her related post – How to use hashtags on Instagram for explosive growth: 2019 update, argues that using up to 30 hashtags in a post on Instagram is never a crime.
The author claimed that no restriction was placed on the number of hashtags to use in social media.
In the chart below, she explains that the result that each marketer gets is determined by the number of hashtags they use.
That is, to get more, you bid for more!
So, if you use no hashtags at all, you will probably get no result that can outperform someone using 5 hashtags in a post.
Based on the information in that chart, you can get up to 18% engagement rate on a page of 1000 followers when you use no hashtags.
But when you use 11 hashtags or above, your engagement rate can scale to 79.5% or above.
Since the result you get with 11 hashtags is not bad, you can stick to 11 hashtags in a post and avoid being close to spam.
Profitable or popular hashtags, which to use?
Profitable and popular hashtags work differently in social media marketing.
They both yield different engagement rates when used on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.
Popular hashtags are the trending hashtags that appear in millions of posts at a particular time on Instagram.
According to Louise, if you are going to add up to 11 hashtags or more to your post, you can use one or two popular hashtags.
This doesn’t mean popular hashtags will make you get any better results with your poor engagement rate. If you use too many of them, your associated posts will be buried underneath your competitors’ feet.
It’s important you learn how to use hashtags on social media. For instance, you need to be aware that you can’t just use a hashtag because it is popular.
If a popular hashtag has no relevance to your campaign, there’s no point in using it.
Assuming your campaign is about affiliate marketing and you use a love-related popular hashtag such as #MyFirstLove. Because the two don’t match, you won’t get any good results.
Users who show interest in #MyFirstLove are not likely going to engage with your affiliate marketing related post.
The good news is popular hashtags can help increase your post’s impression, which is not bad.
But for a better engagement rate, the best practice suggests, that you should use both popular and profitable hashtags that are relevant to your posts.
Profitable hashtags don’t have millions of posts associated with them like popular hashtags.
They’re the hashtags with very less users or posts – maybe with just a few thousand or very less.
Find examples in the image above.
Hashtags with fewer post counts are profitable. They have the potential to increase your post’s shelf life., which is a benefit you can’t get with popular hashtags.
When your post uses a profitable hashtag, it is pinned longer in the circle before other events or other people’s posts cover it. Only in this circumstance your target audience can find your posts and engage with them.
Nobody on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter has the time to view from the first to the last of a million trending posts.
We only scroll through a few and forget about the rest.
If you associate your post or business with a hashtag carrying millions of posts, what is the guarantee your post will be among the top posts that people want to read?
So, the use of profitable hashtags to enhance your business engagement isn’t only a logical practice but a strategy to stay in touch with the right customers.
How to use hashtags in social media
The way hashtags are used on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms is different.
But in either way, the result you get can be fantastically the same.
You can follow an existing hashtag, create your own or mix the two. And to get the most of this strategy, you have to ensure all your hashtags are relevant to your audience and campaigns.
In this section, we want to look at how to use hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Instagram is a great social media marketing channel.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users.
And that makes it the 2nd most engaging social media platform after Facebook.
Instagram can be used just like others to help businesses realize their goals.
Meanwhile, Instagram hashtags are a word, or phrase which are preceded by a hash symbol (#), used in a post and comment section.
When used correctly, they have the power to make you gain more likes, followers, and sales.
To get the most of Instagram hashtags, you need to add some to your bio and story sections. Then always search the network for other relevant hashtags you can follow.
It suggests popular hashtags to users based on the number of tweets each hashtag is associated with. In fact, Twitter doesn’t keep millions of posts for any particular hashtag.
This means all tweets have a short shelf life on Twitter.
What you can see is number of tweets in which a hashtag has appeared in the last few hours and the count is always very low compared to the Instagram hashtag.
Twitter enables your promotions to have a shorter shelf life on its network.
This makes Twitter very clean and void of noise unlike Instagram. And that can help you prevent your campaign from being eroded by your competitors who come to flood Twitter with massive tweet promotions.
So, with Twitter, you need no research work to find popular or profitable hashtags to grow your business.
What matters is hashtagging your tweets with key terms that are relevant to your target audience.
Facebook hashtags are completely different from Twitter and Instagram hashtags.
If you want to add hashtags to your posts on Facebook, don’t wait to see any post counts associated with the hashtags to determine which is popular or not.
In fact, Facebook won’t suggest to you what hashtag to use.
So, whether a hashtag has been used a million times earlier or not, you won’t know on Facebook.
Even if you search Facebook with a hashtag, you would only find a long list of posts in which the hashtag has been previously used.
Assuming you add #searchengineoptimization to your post on SEO, other users searching for the hashtag might discover your content without even being your followers.
To leverage the use of Facebook hashtags, consider what type of hashtag matters most to your campaign.
Use location-based hashtags where your campaign has to do with a particular location or branded hashtags if your campaign concerns a brand.
LinkedIn hashtags are a bit similar to Instagram hashtags.
The difference is that while Instagram shows the number of posts using a particular hashtag, LinkedIn doesn’t. But rater, it shows the number of users following the hashtag.
When you write a post in LinkedIn and add a hashtag to it, your post will be registered on LinkedIn’s search engine.
And if someone searches for that hashtag, he will only find the number of users who are following the hashtag and a long list of posts associated with the hashtag.
The system was built to enable users follow LinkedIn hashtags and stay up to date.
While this is used to organize all posts published on LinkedIn, your posts can stay for a very long time to make any user searching for a related hashtag on LinkedIn find your content.
Social media hashtag best practices
Your conversion power can be motivated by your hashtags.
So, to get the most of your hashtags, adopt the following practices.
Use relevant hashtags
Before you publish a post on social media, search for as many relevant hashtags as possible. List them out one after the other.
Relevant hashtags must be speaking about your business. If your business is about landscaping, using a hashtag associated with athletics or sport equipment is counterproductive.
Use profitable and popular hashtags
From the list you have made, identify which of the hashtags has minimum and which has maximum numbers of posts. Use more of the low. Although combination of the high and low is not a bad idea.
Follow for follow
After publishing your post, you’ll start seeing reactions such as likes, comments, tags, direct messages and follows.
It’s a good practice to reciprocate all the good gestures.
Reply comments. Tell those who make the comments you appreciate them.
Follow back those who follow you. You can even follow those who don’t follow but like your posts. Check their posts as well and give them a few likes.
Let the interactions continue. It’s the only chance you have to make your brand name popular in your industry.
Tag relevant people
When you write a post, try as much as possible to tag other prominent people in your industry. Do your research first to know who to tag.
Search for people using the same hashtags you are about to use, get down their names, and tag them to the post.
This approach will compel your competitors and fans to follow you.
Write quality posts
Quality here means, serving the right content to the right audience. Your post doesn’t need to be long and full of jargon.
Just a little wit or vibe can make it rich and attract engagement. Let it be what people can quickly read and share.
Conclusion how to use Hashtags
It’s my hope this guide has shown you how to use hashtags in social media. Not only that, it also covers how to use hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
Meanwhile, there is proof that a post with relevant hashtags performs better than a post with no hashtags.
For this reason, learning how to use social media hashtags can potentially boost your engagement rates and make you realize your goals.