#Hashtags – how can you use them effectively on social media?

When it comes to social media, hashtags can be incredibly powerful to extend post reach and drive engagement. No matter which social platform you’re using, thinking about hashtags before posting is essential for maximising results.

By grouping your content alongside other posts on the same topic, hashtags boost your post reach beyond those that follow your page, and they can be a great tool in helping to grow your page’s visibility and engagement.

Hashtags can also help you to show your support for social issues and awareness days as a brand.

Which hashtags should you use?

For all of your business’ content, knowing what to talk about can be challenging. For social media – there’s so many more questions:

  • What should I post?
  • When should I post it?
  • How often should I post?
  • And – just when you think you’ve finished your post… What hashtags do I need? (and why?!)

There’s no set list of the best hashtags to use – ultimately it depends on what you’re talking about and who you’re trying to reach. The hashtags you use should be directly relevant to the content you’re posting about. Don’t jump on a trending hashtag to boost your post visibility for the sake of it, make sure your content adds to the conversation in the feed.

It’s not all about the popularity

When it comes to perfecting your use of the hashtag, it’s not all about choosing the popular ones. Less common hashtags can help you to home in on a very specific audience group that you’re looking to reach – for example, in a specific location or area.

Your post is far more likely to stand out with a hashtag that’s only been used a few thousand times vs a few million times.

#JustDidIt campaign from Nike.

How should you use hashtags?

You can use a hashtag anywhere in your social posts – but don’t overpopulate your posts with them. Two to three hashtags per post is plenty, and this ensures your content remains relevant to each of them. It’s not about using hashtags to artificially boost engagement, but instead it’s about using them strategically to contribute useful and engaging information within a stream of content.

It’s also important to make sure your hashtags are easy to understand. Consider using initial caps for each word to make it easier to read – this will also prevent your hashtag from being read in the wrong way (as has been the case for some viral hashtags used for brand promotions!).

It may be that your tweet remains simple, and you use the hashtag to add context to the post. For example, posting a simple emoji alongside a trending hashtag to indicate support or get people talking in your channel. Try to use hashtags at the end of your post as much as possible to ensure you’re not disrupting the readability of the overall post.

How can you find the right hashtag for your post?

There are lots of different ways you can find relevant hashtags for your social content, such as:

  • Research relevant influencers – see what hashtags they’re using within their posts – could you make use of these too? You can also take a look at the quantity and frequency of hashtags in their posts as a general guide for your own posts.

  • Look at what’s trending – every social channel has a ‘trending’ feed that you can explore to see what everyone’s talking about at any given time.

  • Hashtag tools – you can use website such as RiteTag or me to search for trends and real-time engagement of hashtags, as well as get inspiration for new hashtags your brand could be making use of.

How do hashtags differ for different platforms?

Although hashtags first came into popular use on Twitter, they have evolved for use across almost every social media platform – but the way they work differs slightly.

  • LinkedIn – if you have a business page, you can follow up to three relevant hashtags to help you see and respond to content that may be of interest to your audience. Your posts should generally contain no more than three hashtags.

  • Twitter – generally, 1-3 hashtags per Tweet is more than enough to get your content into a new field of conversation. You can also search for keywords and click on hashtags in others’ posts to find relevant conversations you can contribute to.

  • Facebook – again, 1-3 hashtags is generally enough to ensure engagement without looking like you’re trying to boost your post visibility (and disrupting the readability of your post). If you’re looking for new hashtags, you can search for your keywords within the main search bar, and it will bring up a series of suggestions that may be relevant for you.

  • Instagram – on Instagram, you can follow as many hashtags as you like to pull relevant content onto your feed. Often, Instagram posts will have many more hashtags than other platforms – sometimes in excess of 10 or 20, so your content has the potential to reach a much larger audience. You can also use these in your stories to encourage followers to directly click through to the trend.

Beyond social media

Although originating on social platforms, hashtags have now extended far beyond – becoming an integral part of many brand communications strategies.

So, if you’re organising an event or an isolated campaign, consider how you can make use of a hashtag to pool together all of its associated content.

Developing a hashtag strategy

If you’re still unsure on how hashtags could work for your business – or how you could be making more of them in your social activity, book your free communications review with Kinetic.

Or get in touch with a member of the team below:

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