Just about any word or set of words can be hash-tagged on social media posts, and nowadays people tend to use them to create short, entertaining phrases. However, knowing how to use hashtags strategically can greatly improve your content marketing efforts. In this post, we will review the best ways to use hashtags on Instagram and Twitter for growth.

What Exactly Is A Hashtag?

A hashtag is a word with a “#” symbol in front of it. In the social media world, these words become a search function, that connects the searcher to conversations and content based on the hashtag they’ve looked up. Even emojis can now be used as searchable hashtags on particular networks (Instagram and Twitter). Hashtags are often used for novelty (ex: I love my job #YesIDidThatMyself) or to group content for others to find (ex: #JohnAndJessicasWedding). On various networks, you can click on a hashtag, and it will bring up all posts that contain that specific hashtag.

Why You Should Use Hashtags

Hashtags are an excellent search function, so regularly using them for your social media channels will help more people find your posts, profiles, and content. The key to using hashtags for growth on Instagram and Twitter is to learn how to use them strategically. Let’s review a few facts:

1. Posts containing hashtags receive double the percentage of engagement than posts that don’t contain hashtags.
2. Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags bring in 29-41% more engagement for every 1k followers, but when you use more than 2 hashtags, engagement takes a dive down.
3. Although engagement drops when using more than 2 hashtags on Instagram, the interaction percentage more than doubles when you use 11 hashtags.
4. Your posts stand a better chance of being seen on Instagram and Twitter when you use hashtags because your post is now available to be seen by anyone searching the specific hashtag you used, and not just your followers.

How To Use Hashtags On Social

Research. Take some time out to do a little research about hashtags you plan to use. Don’t only use popular hashtags – look for topic specific hashtags, abbreviations, and then pay attention to how others within your industry are creating content using the same hashtags you are interested in using. What’s working for them, can also work for you.

Create Unique Hashtags. You can create a hashtag that defines your brand name or a unique hashtag for a specific campaign or event. When you use hashtags to spread awareness about a product, service, or event remember to combine them with general hashtags as well.

Keep Your Hashtags Short. When you create a hashtag – keep it short and sweet, so it’s easy to type and remember.

Use Keywords As Hashtags. Are there significant industry terms that your target audience is using to find content? For example, a sports publication posting about #superbowl could possibly also use the hashtag #football. Try to use top keywords that relate to your post for better exposure.

Find Related Hashtags. There will be times where you’ll want to be a bit more relaxed or conversational, which is an excellent way to form a stronger connection with your audience. Keep more relaxed hashtags within the context of your posts and your brand. For example, Hersheys Chocolate posted a video of a man eating M&Ms with the caption “Melts in your mouth #NotInYourHands”. The related hashtag used here didn’t only tie right into the media used for the post but also ties into their product, so it will most likely attract users that love chocolate.

Camouflaging Hashtags. Save some space to add characters within the context of your post because it catches your viewer’s attention when you do. You’ll want to camouflage some hashtags within the message as well. You should then add additional hashtags relative to your post as the first comment. It is less appealing to viewers if you use too many hashtags in the caption area.

Do Not Overstuff Your Captions. Hashtag overuse is quite the overkill and will have an adverse effect. Instagram users tend to ignore posts that contain too many hashtags. As a rule of thumb, use 1-3 hashtags in the caption area, preferably camouflaged as explained above. For example:
#GoodMorning world, I woke up super #happy today because it’s Friday! #TGIF

Hashtagging Every Word. Again. Overkill. Keep in mind that although it may seem like making every word, a hashtag is a brilliant idea that may increase visibility in search, it will actually turn your readers away from even looking at your post.

Breaks In Hashtags. Many people forget that symbols like “&” breaks your hashtag so avoid using symbols when hashtagging a word.
Limitations. Instagram will allow up to 30 hashtags per post (that doesn’t mean you should include 30 hashtags every time you post). According to Quicksprout 11+ hashtags seemed to bring the most engagement on Instagram posts. Twitter has a small character count and an entire tweet written in hashtags is going to look like spam, you’ll be getting zero love on those.

Conclusion

When you learn to use hashtags in your social media marketing efforts (properly), you’ll be able to reach people who are interested in your subject or content and who are not a part of your list of followers or network. That means you’re opening up your exposure capacity by making yourself visible to people who are specifically interested in your content. There is no guesswork here. If you work in fashion and you include the hashtagged word #fashion in your posts, people searching for that very same hashtag will come across your post so long as your profile privacy setting is set to public. The great part is, you know they’re interested in fashion because that’s what they looked up and found you. Remember to use “Explore” or “Trending” within the apps to get some inspiration on what type of content is most popular at that moment in time. #themoreyouknow

For more advice on how to get your social media to where it needs to be to generate web traffic, fuel your sales funnel and generate leads, give our team of experts a call!