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Home > Digital Marketing Blog > Hashtag Marketing: How to Use Hashtags on Social Media

Hashtag Marketing: How to Use Hashtags on Social Media

Hashtag Marketing: How to Use Hashtags on Social Media
Reshma Mandal
May 18, 2018

Almost everyone is familiar with this so popular Hashtag symbol #. The symbol # is not just a simple pound sign or hash mark today. It is the online sensation on all social media platforms. Whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, or any other social media channels, you cannot ignore the importance of #hashtag. You can call it as a power source to reach maximum people and get more followers, likes, and shares. But understanding it could be a difficult task for marketers out there. Hashtag might seem confusing but, once you understand it, trust me, the jackpot is in your hand. This powerful tool can help you to grow your social impact, reach and audience engagement. Here is the guide you need to know about Hashtag Marketing. Before understanding how to use this internet phenomenon in your social media accounts, you should know the what part.

What is a Hashtag?

There are billions of people posting on a daily basis on every social media platform. It’s almost impossible for your post or content to stand out of the crowd. Your post will not be able to be seen unless they are your followers and friends. But no worries, for this reason only hashtags are there. A hashtag is a keyword referred by # symbol which you can include in a social media post, comment, video, etc. to highlight them, generate exposure, and enhance audience engagement.

Hashtags are an integral part of a social media strategy in hashtag marketing which can help your ideas and content discoverable to your audience. If you think from a user’s perspective, hashtags are used to categorize your content and making easy to do insights. When someone clicks on your particular hashtag, they will be brought to a page which aggregates all the posts in real time with same hashtags.

Once a hashtag pics up enough momentum, it becomes trending. But being trending will not make your hashtag the most popular one. Each social network has its unique way to specify a trending content and displaying posts under a hashtag. Hashtags can have a negative effect too on your engagement if not used properly. Here are some statistics of what will happen when you use different hashtag numbers on different social media channels.

Analytics of Hashtag Usage on Social Media Channels

If you use more than two hashtags in your tweet, then it will result in a significant drop in audience engagement.

Twitter Statistics on Hashtag Usage - Digital Ready


Same goes for Facebook too.

Facebook Statistics on Hashtag Usage - Digital Ready

However, the results are different when it is Instagram. The more is better here. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags in each caption. But that doesn’t mean that you have to use 30 hashtags for your every post. If you see the graph below, the maximum engagement is there when you use 8, 9 or 10 hashtags. Above 10, you will risk your post to be engaged.


Instagram Statistics on Hashtag Usage - Digital Ready

Who Invented Hashtags?

Who is the champ behind this internet phenomenon? Who is the man behind your engagement? Here is what you want to know.

Chris Messina, the former Google employee, who worked as a designer in Google+, is the man who tweeted first using a hashtag. Back in 2007, he tweeted a post to start using hashtags, and now it’s the running sensation. Here is his tweet.

Chris Messina’s First Tweet Using Hashtag - Digital Ready

Why Use Hashtags?

Why to Use Hashtags - Digital Ready

Till hashtags were invented, your social media posts were limited to be seen by your followers only. But not that’s not the case. Hashtags will let your posts to be seen by other users too. Choosing the right hashtags can broaden your audience reach. Suppose you do nature’s photography, you can reach to your relevant audience when you use #naturesphotography instead of just #photography. So don’t just include any word with this powerful symbol #. Think and research before using it. Include words relevant to your interest.

How to Use Hashtags on Social Media?

Rules of Using Hashtags - Digital Ready

Here are a few hashtag ideas and quick rules that you can apply while posting on your social media channels.

Be Specific

You should use hashtags specific to your business, and your interest. Use hashtags that are relevant to your topic. If you mismatch your content of a post and the hashtag then, you won’t be getting the engagement you are expecting. The more specific you are, the more you can target your audience which will result in better engagement.

For example, you sell glass doors. So instead of using general #doors, be specific to use #glassdoors. This hashtag is specific to glass doors and will result in better engagement.

Keep Your Hashtags Short

Don’t include too many words within a single hashtag. Over lengthy hashtags turn people off generally.

For example, hashtags like #WhatHappenedInVegasStaysInVegas, #VisionExpoWestIsAmazing. These hashtags are over lengthy with too many words within a single hashtag.

Don’t Overuse Hashtags

Over Use of Hashtags - Digital Ready

Writing the entire social media post within one hashtag per word is the must avoid.

Writing the entire social media post within one hashtag per word is the must avoid.

For example, your sentence is “You are ridiculous with your annoying and unnecessary use of hashtags.” So if you write this caption like “#You #are #ridiculous #with #your #annoying #and #unnecessary #use #of #hashtags,” then your post is meaningless. All the words are not relevant to what you want to reach for. Keep relevant words in hashtags rather than using every single word of your whole caption.

Don’t Use Hashtags More Than Your Words

People think that more hashtags mean more reach and more likes but that not the truth. People overload hashtags with a single photo. Like on Instagram, the maximum number of hashtags one can use is 30, but that doesn’t mean you will include the maximum limit for a single post. Yes, you will get followers, but those will only be spammers with the intention of following them back. Focus on being specific.

Use Trending Hashtags

You all are aware of the ‘trending’ concept which covers almost everything from fashion to news headlines. Trending topic is dynamic. So you should keep an eye on the changing trending hashtags and use the relevant and the most popular hashtags in your captions. Just grab the trending hashtags related to your business and include them in your post. As a result, your post will be seen by a larger audience. More and more people can see your updates rather than just your friends and followers.

You can locate trending hashtags and topics by utilising hashtag analytics monitoring sites like Hashtag.org, Hashtagify, Trendsmap, or RiteTag. You can use them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc.

Use niche-trending hashtags rather, to connect people similar to your business and interest to target them effectively.

Stay Away From Controversial Topics

Being trendy doesn’t mean that you will go on selecting political, religious, negative, or any controversial topic. Like the way you do your keyword research for better SEO, the same way you need to do proper research for hashtags to avoid any usage of hashtags being used for wrong reasons. Don’t go for damaging your brand and business by doing all these shits.

How to Hashtag on Facebook

The Hashtag was introduced to social media long back in 2007, but Facebook started using it since 2013. Facebook users don’t use hashtags much. They might don’t understand its potential. So here is what you should know about using Hashtags on your Facebook posts.

When you go for hashtag marketing, then you should include the recommended number of hashtags for each of your post on Facebook is one or two. After the number five, your post might start to get decline by users. Use your words in a single hashtag without any spaces between them. When people search for the hashtag similar to the one you used, then your post will appear to them. Here is an example of a Facebook post with Hashtags.

Facebook Post Example with Hashtags - Digital Ready

How to Hashtag on Instagram

Instagram is an image-based social media channel which is all about sharing photos and videos.

The maximum number of hashtags allowed in an Instagram post is 30. But that’s not the number which you should use in every caption. The number of hashtags recommended for Instagram users is 10 or 11. Here is an example post of Instagram.

Instagram Post With Hashtags - Digital Ready

How to Hashtag on Twitter

Twitter is the best social media platform to use hashtags. The hashtag was first introduced on Twitter only back in 2007. Since then, it became the running sensation on all social media platforms.

The recommended number of hashtags that you should include in a tweet is 2. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement than the tweets without hashtags. But the limit should be two.

Suppose you want to search for the popular Twitter hashtags on Digital Marketing. You can see that by choosing #digitalmarketing on the search option on Twitter. You can change the location as per your choice from the left side of your account of the resulted searches.

If you want to follow tweets from a particular hashtag from the resulted search, then click on the hashtag with a # sign. As a result, it will show all the top tweets in a particular location containing your tweets.

Want to create one? No worries. It’s as simple as cutting a cake. Just type a word starting with a # symbol. Twitter by default will show you some recommendations on the Hashtag to use.

Here is an example tweet from Chiranjeevi Maddala with three Hashtags.

Tweets With Hashtags - Digital Ready

How to Hashtag on Google Plus

Google Plus allows Hashtag usage in an intelligent way. It automatically adds hashtags to the posts without any hashtags on top of that it allows every user to create their own too.

You will notice no hashtags in a post on Google Plus. But by clicking on a hashtag, Google Plus results in you the top posts related to the hashtag you entered.

Three is the recommended number of hashtag use in a Google Plus post. It’s better to choose yours rather than letting the Google Plus system to choose by default.

You can search from the explorer bar to see the top trending articles based on that particular hashtag. Suppose I used #digitalmarketing and came up with the articles with #digitalmarketing.

Google Plus Post With Hashtag - Digital Ready

Final Thoughts

There are immense opportunities lying there for you if you use hashtags properly in your hashtag marketing strategies. You should know when, and how to use hashtags properly to promote your brand and get greater reach. Just as discussed above, Hashtags should be short, not over lengthy, not spammy, not controversial, should be memorable and trending. Be it’s your Facebook account, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google Plus, you should understand how to use hashtags for each of the mentioned social media platforms.

Social media channels have the great potential to keep your business out of the crowd. A strong social media strategy can provide you greater results. Hashtags are now a bigger part of every social media strategy. Every social media channels behave uniquely. So get enough knowledge about the same, create your own hashtag, and start your way of using them to reach wider.

Read our blog on “Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for your Business.

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