How to use hashtags effectively on social media channels
by Jane Gardner
Twitter is often considered the birthplace of the hashtag. Here are some tips for using hashtags effectively on Twitter:
- Use Relevant and Popular Hashtags: Research and identify relevant hashtags that are commonly used within your industry, niche, or the specific topic you’re discussing. Look for popular hashtags that are trending or frequently used by your target audience. This helps you reach a larger audience and join conversations that are already happening.
- Join Trending Conversations: Keep an eye on the trending hashtags and topics on Twitter. These are usually displayed on the left-hand side of the Twitter homepage or in the “Explore” tab. When a trending hashtag aligns with your content or expertise, incorporate it into your tweets to join the conversation and increase your visibility.
- Create Branded Hashtags: Develop unique hashtags for your brand, campaigns, events, or specific content series. Branded hashtags can help increase brand awareness, encourage user-generated content, and make it easier for followers to find and engage with your content.
- Be Mindful of Hashtag Etiquette: When using hashtags on Twitter, it’s important to be mindful of the context and etiquette. Avoid using excessive hashtags in your tweets, as it can make your content look spammy or difficult to read. Stick to a few relevant hashtags per tweet to maintain clarity and engagement.
- Participate in Twitter Chats: Twitter chats are organised conversations that revolve around a specific hashtag at a designated time. Joining relevant Twitter chats allows you to connect with like-minded individuals, share insights, and expand your network. Participating in Twitter chats can increase your visibility and engagement on the platform.
- Encourage Retweets and Replies: In your tweets, encourage your followers to retweet and reply by using engaging calls to action. For example, ask them to share their thoughts, opinions, or experiences related to the topic you’re discussing. This encourages interaction and increases the reach of your tweets.
Remember, Twitter moves quickly, and tweets have a shorter lifespan compared to other social media platforms. Stay active, engage with others, and use hashtags strategically to boost your visibility and engagement on Twitter.
The optimum number of hashtags to use on Instagram can vary depending on different factors, including the size of your following, the nature of your content, and your target audience. However, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, and research suggests that using a reasonable number of relevant hashtags can improve discoverability and engagement.
Here are a few guidelines to consider when using hashtags on Instagram:
- Quality over Quantity: It’s better to focus on using relevant and targeted hashtags rather than using the maximum allowed number of hashtags. Using too many hashtags can make your caption look cluttered and spammy.
- Aim for a Moderate Number: While there’s no fixed rule, studies have shown that using around 5-10 hashtags tends to generate good engagement. This allows you to cover a range of relevant topics and reach a wider audience without overwhelming your followers.
- Mix Popular and Niche Hashtags: A combination of popular and niche hashtags can be effective. Popular hashtags have a large audience but are highly competitive, so it can be challenging to stand out. Niche hashtags are more specific and targeted, allowing you to reach a smaller but potentially more engaged audience.
- Research and Test: Take the time to research hashtags that are popular and relevant to your content. Look at what hashtags influencers or competitors in your industry are using. Also, experiment with different hashtags and monitor their performance using Instagram analytics to see which ones generate the most engagement.
Remember, the effectiveness of hashtags can vary over time, so it’s important to stay updated on trending topics and adjust your hashtag strategy accordingly.
The hashtag strategy for Facebook differs from that of Instagram. While hashtags are widely used and effective on Instagram, their impact on Facebook is relatively limited. Here are a few considerations for using hashtags on Facebook:
- Quality and Relevance: Similar to Instagram, focus on using relevant hashtags that add value to your post. Use hashtags that are directly related to the content and topic you’re discussing. Avoid using excessive or unrelated hashtags, as they may distract users or make your post appear spammy.
- Use Branded Hashtags: Branded hashtags can be useful on Facebook to create a sense of community and encourage user-generated content. Develop a unique hashtag for your brand or campaign and encourage your followers to use it when they engage with your content.
- Keep it Concise: Unlike Instagram, where using multiple hashtags is common, it’s generally recommended to keep the number of hashtags on Facebook to a minimum. A single or a few well-chosen hashtags can be more effective in conveying your message and engaging your audience.
- Monitor and Participate in Trending Hashtags: Stay aware of trending hashtags and join relevant conversations on Facebook. Engaging with trending topics can help increase your visibility and reach new audiences. However, ensure that the trending hashtags align with your brand and the content you share.
- Focus on Content and Engagement: On Facebook, the emphasis should be on creating valuable and engaging content rather than relying solely on hashtags. Develop a content strategy that resonates with your audience, encourages comments and shares, and prompts meaningful discussions.
Remember, Facebook’s algorithm prioritises meaningful interactions and relevant content, so creating high-quality posts and engaging with your audience will have a more significant impact on your reach and engagement than relying solely on hashtags.
LinkedIn has a unique approach to hashtags compared to other social media platforms. Here are some tips for using hashtags effectively on LinkedIn:
- Professional and Relevant Hashtags: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, so it’s crucial to use hashtags that are relevant to your industry, niche, or the specific topic you’re discussing. Focus on professional keywords and terms that your target audience is likely to search for or follow.
- Research Industry-Specific Hashtags: Take the time to research and identify industry-specific hashtags that are commonly used within your professional field. Look at the hashtags used by influencers, thought leaders, and companies in your industry. Using these targeted hashtags can help you reach a relevant audience and increase the visibility of your content.
- Mix Broad and Niche Hashtags: Similar to other platforms, it’s good to strike a balance between using broader hashtags and niche hashtags. Broad hashtags help you reach a larger audience, while niche hashtags allow you to target a more specific and engaged audience.
- Leverage Trending Hashtags and Topics: Stay updated on trending topics, news, and discussions within your industry. Incorporate relevant trending hashtags into your posts when it aligns with your content. Participating in trending conversations can help boost your visibility and engagement.
- Engage in Hashtag Communities: LinkedIn has various communities centred around specific hashtags. Engage with these communities by actively participating in discussions, sharing valuable insights, and networking with professionals who are using the same hashtags. This can help you expand your network and build relationships with like-minded individuals.
- Use Hashtags Sparingly: Unlike platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where multiple hashtags are commonly used, it’s generally recommended to use 3-5 relevant hashtags per LinkedIn post. Using too many hashtags can make your content appear cluttered and unprofessional.
Remember, LinkedIn is primarily a platform for professional networking and sharing industry-related content. Focus on providing valuable insights, thought leadership, and engaging with your connections to maximise your LinkedIn engagement.
Hashtags can also be used effectively on both TikTok and YouTube to increase visibility and engagement. Here are some tips for using hashtags on these platforms:
- Trending Hashtags: Keep an eye on the trending hashtags section on TikTok’s Discover page. Incorporating relevant trending hashtags into your TikTok videos can help you tap into popular conversations and increase your chances of getting discovered by a wider audience.
- Niche Hashtags: Research and use niche hashtags that are specific to your content, industry, or target audience. These hashtags can help you reach a more engaged and targeted audience who are interested in the specific topics you cover.
- Hashtag Challenges: Participate in TikTok hashtag challenges that align with your content. These challenges can provide a boost in visibility and engagement as they are often widely promoted and attract user participation.
- Brand or Personal Hashtags: Create your own branded or personal hashtags and encourage your viewers to use them in their TikTok videos. This can help build a community around your brand and make it easier for others to find and engage with your content.
- Video-Specific Hashtags: Incorporate relevant hashtags in the video description or tags section on YouTube. These hashtags should be directly related to the content of your video and can help increase its discoverability when users search for or click on those hashtags.
- Mix Popular and Niche Hashtags: Similar to other platforms, it’s beneficial to use a combination of popular and niche hashtags on YouTube. Popular hashtags can expose your video to a larger audience, while niche hashtags can help you target a more specific and engaged audience.
- Research YouTube SEO: Along with hashtags, optimise your video titles, descriptions, and tags using relevant keywords. This helps improve your video’s search engine optimisation (SEO) and increases the likelihood of it appearing in search results.
- Encourage Engagement: In your videos and video descriptions, encourage viewers to engage with your content by commenting, liking, subscribing, and sharing. You can use call-to-action statements to prompt viewers to use specific hashtags when sharing their thoughts or reactions.
Remember, while hashtags can enhance visibility and discoverability, they should always be relevant to your content. Avoid using excessive or irrelevant hashtags, as it can make your content appear spammy or confuse the algorithm’s understanding of your video’s topic.