Top tips for hashtag use on social media
We’ve explained the history of the hashtag, now it’s time to spill the beans on how to use hashtags to maximise your social content. As with most things it’s not rocket science but there are a few things to keep in mind for each social media platform and also some general rules of thumb across all channels. Here you have it, our top tips for hashtag use on social media...
Why use hashtags?
Namely, to help ensure your content is found in the tidal wave of content. Hashtags have been shown to massively improve brand awareness and engagement - the holy grail of social media efforts.
General hashtag rules
Rules sound so boring but follow these and your social media will be in good shape, ship shape in fact!
- Think about your audience, that old chestnut rearing its head again! If you’re targeting people looking for holidays that’s great, but if you’re offering skiing holidays then adding a skiing related hashtag will make your post more likely to be seen by the right audience.
- Irrelevant hashtags, no matter how popular they are, will not do you any favours - don’t be tempted.
- Make your hashtags simple. Hashtags are search terms and generally people do not search for complex terms.
- Create your own hashtag for your brand, competitions, events etc
- If your hashtag is a phrase capitalise the first word, it makes it much easier for the reader to quickly understand it. #picoftheday #PicOfTheDay
The birthplace of the hashtag and the platform where you have to make sure your hashtags work hard - you’ve only got 140 characters after all.
- Don’t use more than two hashtags. We all hate a tweet that’s just hashtags and your engagement will skydive too.
- It’s always tempting to hop on the trending band wagon which is fine as long as it’s relevant or you have something to say.
- If you’re going for two hashtags a top tip is to use a generic term that is relevant to the tweet and also something more specific. For example if you’re tweeting about fitness you may have a generic #FitLife hashtag but if you’re talking about something specific say interval training then add #Hiit.
- Hashtagify and RiteTag are two great sites to research top performing hashtags, you may be surprised at what does and doesn’t work!
Facebook is a funny one, they were late adopters of the hashtag.
- Although you are not limited to a number of characters as you are with Twitter it's still best practice to limit your hashtags to a couple.
- Think about your audience, a post with a handful of hashtags isn’t fooling anyone and can disengage your audience - this is bad!
Whilst Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag, Instagram is the nurturer of them and actively encourages users to hashtag. Now hold your horses, before you get carried away there are still some rules to follow…
- Make all hashtags relevant to your post, with some more generic ones drilling down to specific hashtags.
- 10-11 hashtags is commonplace and accepted, but don’t be tempted to add any more and don’t feel you have to use that many, sometimes it’s just not relevant.
- Many users add all their hashtags in a comment and this is really about making their post look neat. It’s fine to do as long as you comment immediately. Others use a line break and add their hashtags at the bottom of the post. Whatever works for you here, but keep in mind as soon as you click share Instagram's algorithm is working for you, so you want those hashtags up sharpish!
Hashtags are here to stay and with a bit of thought, planning and measurement they can really make the difference to your social media activity. So if you’re a hashtag-oholic you now know how and why you should reign it in a bit and if you think they’re overused and you haven’t taken them up on principle, then perhaps we may have persuaded you to dip your toe into the hashtag pool. The biggest take home from hashtag rules is making them relevant… we’ve used that word a lot in this post!
And if you need help creating a targeted hashtag strategy or perhaps analysis of what’s working for you why not put in a request to one of our fivesquid social media freelancers who will be able to help you in a jiffy.