Hashtags: What Are They and How Should I Use Them?

Hashtags: What Are They and How Should I Use Them?

Hashtags are everywhere, that is undeniable. But what are they, and why are they so important? Surely if you are posting consistently on social media and sharing good content, that should be enough. Well, hashtags add another level to your post that can help you reach audiences beyond just those you follow, and those who follow you.

Hashtags can classify your posts, and help you to appear in different searches. By hashtagging things that relate to your post, people can click on that hashtag and see all posts with that tag. This can be a way for people to find your posts. However, you have to avoid hashtags that are too general. If you’re at work and decide to show people that, you could add the hashtag #work. But that tag has over 100 million posts, so your post is sure to get lost quickly. That is not very helpful. Instead, you could hashtag your specific line of work, which will help to narrow down the number of posts that are shared with the same tag as you. The specificity of your tags is important. If you choose a common one, chances are your post won’t get seen simply because of the sheer number of posts with the same tag. Specificity is your friend!

If you’re unsure about what tags to add to your post, you can search for one hashtag that you know you might use often, and then see what other people within that tag are using. That can help you get ideas on what tags to use, maybe some to avoid, and help you on your journey to hashtagging successfully.

In addition to classifying your posts, hashtags can also act as an indicator on your post. For example, oftentimes companies will pay influencers to post about a product or service on their account. They will use the hashtag #ad, #spon, or #sponsored to notify you, the reader, that they have been paid to make this post. This small hashtag makes a world of difference, it clarifies that the person making this post has been paid for their post and that the caption they share may not be entirely their honest opinion, but instead what they’re being paid to say.

With different types of social media, there are different rules surrounding hashtags. Here are a few tips for each platform to help you understand what to do, and what not to do.

Instagram: Instagram is where hashtags can really help you thrive, especially if you have very visual work. Humans are such visual creatures; we like seeing pictures and that is part of Instagram’s great success. This is where hashtags can really help you. As long as you’re using relevant and specific tags for your picture, people will most likely see your photo and be more likely to engage. With Instagram, as a general rule, you shouldn’t have more than eleven hashtags. That may seem like a lot, and it is. The most important thing to remember is relevancy, so if there are only three or four relevant hashtags, it’s okay to just have a few. Instagram has a hashtag limit of 30 tags per post, but according to the latest algorithm update, maxing out your hashtags isn’t recommended.

Twitter: Given the character limit on Twitter, taking up precious space with countless hashtags isn’t worth your time. Although hashtags were created for Twitter, your best bet is to use no more than two, given the character limit. As with Instagram, relevancy is key, and since you should only use two, specificity will once again be your friend. If you need room for hashtags in your limited space, a good technique is to hashtags relevant words within your original tweet.

Facebook: Hashtags on Facebook are a delicate game to play. In all honesty, using hashtags on Facebook can look like spam. Thus, with Facebook, it can often be better to just avoid hashtags overall. Hashtags won’t really elevate your posts on Facebook, so you can carry on with the way you’ve been posting, without having to worry about hashtags.

Undeniably, hashtags are important, and they can really elevate your social media presence. It’s hard to remember the exact rules for every network, but as long as you remember specificity and relevancy, you will do just fine. Get out there and hashtag away!

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