Making the Most of Social Media Hashtags

Are you itching to start using #hashtags but aren’t sure where, how and when to use them? If you’re a social media newbie, these short links preceded by # sign might seem confusing and unnecessary, yet you see them everywhere! #amiright?

What is a Hashtag?

Hashtags are essential to the way social media users (and society!) communicate online, and it’s important to understand why they exist and how to use them–especially if your business is on the web. Many of the largest brands and influencers in the world use these little links as a key component in their social media strategy, because they help increase the reach of their posts AND engagement in audiences with similar interests. As of 2019, hashtags can be used on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and more!

Let’s start with the basics.
The hashtag (#) symbol creates a clickable link to content containing keywords that come after the hash. Place the # symbol before a keyword or phrase without spaces or punctuation, like this:

This allows your audience of page followers to find you by searching those keywords, usually with help from built-in functions that are designed to track social media signals and trends. The complete hashtag can act as an introduction at the beginning of a post, a focus in the context of the body, or provide instructions at the end of the post.

There are two main reasons to use a hashtag:

  1. To join a conversation and stay up-to-date on buzz surrounding a certain topic.
  2. To get your own post in front of interested users so they can discover you/your page.

If you use hashtags effectively, users can more easily find your post while browsing through other relevant posts from the community, and engage with your page. 

Basic Hashtag Strategies

First things first: Don't go overboard with too many hashtags in a single post. Many users ignore content stuffed with hashtags, much in the same way they ignore posts stuffed with keywords and lacking decent, fresh, and fun content. Three to six hashtags, if using carefully chosen keywords, are more effective in encouraging your audience to engage with a post. 

Limit the number of words you use in a single hashtag. While a few words strung together without spaces is easy enough to decipher, a long sentence reads like gibberish. #skolmarketingissuperawesome … Right? 

Niche keywords are a little risky when you are relying on hashtags to bring new users to your post. Remember: hashtags are designed to support searchable keyword content. If users are not searching for the keywords that you use, your hashtags are pointless. 

On the flip side, specific hashtags are more effective than generalized terms that will return reams of content from competing pages. Speaking of competition, you can use your industry-relevant hashtags to see what other companies are using the hashtag, if they’re competitors, and what types of things they are posting about. You will likely get a better idea of effective hashtag use from seeing what works for other companies, organizations or individuals. 

For more social media strategy tips, contact our Social Squad at Skol Marketing!