Hashtags and How to Use Them
As you may or may not know, a hashtag is a technique to increase the possibility of others seeing your post.
This is helpful for those aiming to start a business, become an influencer, shop and connect, or just gain more followers and meet new people!
For example, let's say you just made some post-worthy fried chicken and are looking to be seen by an audience that enjoys cooking; you can post your new masterpiece with the hashtag “#southerncooking” in order to be seen by those searching for southern recipes.
This not only points you in the right direction when targeting a specific audience, but can help your posts be discovered and gain popularity.
Types of Hashtags
- These are hashtags that directly relate to your product, service, area of interest, or target audience.
- These can help introduce your content to others.
Examples include “#photography,” “#travel,” or “#countrymusic.”
- These are hashtags rising in popularity.
- Using a trending hashtag may increase visibility of your post, but with potentially thousands of others also using an identical hashtag, it may be hard for your content to stand out. Here are some ways to overcome that potential challenge:
Include additional content-specific hashtags that are unique to your product, brand, or post.
For example, if the #fingerlickingood hashtag popularized by KFC is trending, and you opt to use it on your fried chicken post, you could also add hashtags such as #foodiefan, #friedfoodsgalore, #favoritechickenrecipes or #winnerwinnerchickendinner to help increase the visibility of your post when others search for unique hashtags.
- Because your content can get lost in the mix when using trending hashtags, brand-specific hashtags are a way to ensure that your content is unique and memorable. These can be used for contests, general marketing, events, products, campaigns, and more!
For example, let's say you own a liquor store named Drinks On Main and are trying to sell a new brand of whiskey.
You could create a contest where users can create a post with a specific hashtag, such as the name of your store, #DrinksonMain, along with “#nationalwhiskeyday,” and announce that you’ll select a random participant to win a quality bottle of whiskey (if they’re over 21), or a gift card to shop with you.
This can bring awareness to both your business, and your new whiskey product and ideally gain popularity.
Tips and Tricks
Use hashtags strategically
If your goal is popularity or business related, it is important to use both trending and unique hashtags. These will help the content be seen when users search for something popular and differentiate it from others.
Make it short and sweet
Lengthy hashtags are searched for less frequently and can become confusing for users to read.
Try not to overuse
Rather than creating a sentence using one “#” per word, select just one or two keywords to become hashtags. This is limited differently on each platform. For example, Instagram allows no more than 30 hashtags, while twitter has no limit, but there are limited characters and it is suggested to not use too many.
Too many hashtags create clutter and will less likely pop up in a search.
Hashtag use depends on the platform
For Instagram (IG), more hashtags leads to more engagement (up to a point; more than 10 is way considered too many). When you go to the IG search bar, it will reveal what hashtags are most commonly searched for at the time. This will give you ideas on what keywords to use as hashtags to bring awareness to your content.
Where to place your hashtags
The best place to use your hashtags are following the caption on your picture. This keeps them organized and visible.
If you are trying to get more comfortable using Instagram hashtags are a great way to utilize and benefit from the multiple facets of not only IG, but all forms of social media.