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Hashtags 101: How to Make Your Hashtag Work for You!

In today’s internet-savvy world, nothing is quite as striking as hashtags. Whether it is Twitter’s concise, trendy hashtags or Tumblr’s long-form, story-like hashtags, no post is considered complete without hashtags. Especially not if you are trying to widen your reach. 

So, let us break down what hashtags are and how they have become a default in today’s online world.

What is a Hashtag?

Although the # or pound symbol was initially used for numbers, in 2007, Chris Messina used it as a hashtag for the first time on Twitter.

It was meant to denote a group or ideology so that people with similar interests could find each other easily. It took off on Twitter due to the brevity of Twitter content. Using hashtags would become an easy way to group similar tweets.

Since then, they have only grown in importance. They served a dual purpose for brands looking to advertise more since they could tell you what was trending in your demographic.

For example, when #throwbackthursday was all the rage, several brands used the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to increase their reach. Using relevant, current hashtags also improves relatability – a major factor that all brands need.

The Ideal Way to Use Hashtags

There are certain things to keep in mind when using hashtags so that you get cemented in the online market as a viable option.

  • Follow the Format: They always start with # and do not work if you have spaces, punctuation or symbols. Meanwhile, several platforms also let you hashtag emojis by themselves – they are just not recognised if they are part of a text-based hashtag.
  • Public not Private: Only public accounts can increase their reach through hashtags since then you reach people who are not following you as well.
  • Shorter is Better: Unless you are an individual entrepreneur and part of your brand image is telling stories through hashtags, stick with short, crisp hashtags. Definitely use a balance of short and long hashtags since shorter hashtags trend more.
  • Stay Relevant: Use specific and relevant hashtags. Do not use obscure hashtags. A good way to check is searching for the hashtag on various platforms. They usually tell you how many posts exist and you can decide whether to include them accordingly.
  • Less is More: While using more hashtags can increase the number of groups you reach, sticking with fewer hashtags might make your post appealing. Especially on a platform like Twitter, limiting the number of hashtags you use increases engagement.

How Hashtags Work

Due to their prevalence in today’s digital marketing lexicon, hashtags are also successfully used for brand image. That said, using just one hashtag does not work. To expand your reach and create an impact with your brand, you need the appropriate hashtags.

For example, if you are a sustainable fashion brand, simply tagging your posts with #fashion and #sustainablefashion is not enough. You need to use hashtags that encompass environmental friendliness.

This is necessary since various social media platforms let you subscribe to hashtags. So if someone has subscribed to #ecofriendlyoptions and you tag your post with that, they are more likely to see your post. Hashtags rely on algorithms and are a free and easy way to boost your content across social media.

Pro Tip: Popularity Does Not Guarantee Results

There is a common misconception that using a popular hashtag ensures that you increase your reach. This is both true and false. We say this because obviously, the tags are popular for a reason. But this also means that there is a vast ocean of posts that you can get lost in.

The most popular hashtags on Instagram as of June 2020 are:

  • #love (1.8B posts)
  • #instagood (1.1B posts)
  • #photooftheday (801M posts)
  • #beautiful (663M posts)
  • #happy (580M posts)
  • #picoftheday (575M posts)
  • #photography (587M posts)
  • #nature (529M posts)
  • #instagram (487M posts)
  • #food (393M posts)

As you can see, these are quite generic. They may have little to nothing to do with you and your brand. This is why you cannot rely on popularity.


Credit: @pepgada.diaria (Instagram)


Credit: @official_model_shootout (Instagram)

Taking an example, both of these images have used #love in their captions. Does this mean they have anything to do with each other? No. The hashtag is simply popular but does not reflect the brand image.

That does not mean not including them at all. But it is a much better strategy to incorporate trends rather than popular hashtags. Trends also make your brand more current, relevant and relatable.

Choosing the Right Hashtags

There any many ways to choose the right hashtags. But you need to treat them like content marketing keywords. This means doing research and choosing hashtags that increase your reach accordingly.

  • Check out your competition and influencers in your field and what hashtags they are using.
  • Hashtagify.me gives you excellent Twitter and Instagram hashtags.
  • Find out the trending hashtags in your niche. RiteTag can help you generate the perfect hashtags based on your content.
  • A social media listening tool like Hoosuite helps find the best hashtags across platforms.
  • Platforms like Instagram show you related hashtags to the one you want to use. Incorporate these related hashtags.
  • Keep tabs on previously successful posts and note which hashtags you used on those.

Using Hashtags Across Platforms

This brings us to the final point – using hashtags effectively across platforms.

Twitter

  • 1-2 hashtags per tweet.
  • These can be incorporated into the body of the tweet.
  • You can also add hashtags when you comment, retweet, reply and in your bio.

Instagram

  • 5-10 hashtags per post.
  • Use hashtags at the end after the caption. You can also intersperse them within your caption.
  • Alternatively, after making your post, post a comment (the first comment) immediately with all the hashtags.
  • Instagram Insights is a feature for business accounts that gives you statistics about your posts. So you can see which hashtags have been successful.

Facebook

  • 1-2 hashtags per post. Either at the end or incorporated into the post.
  • Pro tip: Search for hashtags within private Facebook groups to get an idea of what to use for your brand.
  • Monitor your brand’s hashtags and see which public profiles are joining in by using the URL facebook.com/hashtag/_____

LinkedIn

  • Use 1-2 hashtags per post.
  • Incorporate them into your text for best results.
  • Keep your hashtags professional – LinkedIn is a professional platform.

YouTube

  • 2-3 hashtags. These may be placed in the video title or description. (see picture)
  • YouTube has a trending section where it often chooses which videos to feature based on hashtags used.
  • Do not use more than 15 hashtags or you risk being marked as spam.

Pinterest

  • 2-5 hashtags per post.
  • Use hashtags in the Pin description. If you are repinning, add hashtags in the repinned description.
  • Do not use more than 20 hashtags.

This way, hashtags can greatly boost your content marketing strategy. Incorporating keywords into your hashtags also helps you appear higher in the organic SERPs – something every company desires.

All you need is a content marketing company in Delhi like iWrite India by your side! With proficient technical content writers and excellent strategists, we make the effort to understand your brand’s needs completely. Our thorough research and extensive knowledge enable us to provide high-quality content development in Delhi. So look no further and get us onboard today!

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