Hashtags on Popular Social Media Sites: The Ultimate Guide
In The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags on Instagram, I only focused on hashtags on Instagram as, at that time, I specifically wanted to grow my Instagram account. As social media is always changing, I thought it would be a good idea to publish an ultimate guide to hashtags on popular social media sites. The websites I include are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
As it is important to have the latest information when it comes to social media, I have written this blog post with the help of a recent article by Emily Sidley.
As I had already said in 2015, almost everybody knows about hashtags. Adding a hashtag to your message on a social media platform is very, very easy. The trick, however, is to use it as a powerful tool for your brand and online lead generation. What are the rules when it comes to powerful hashtags? What can you do as an entrepreneur to reach a bigger audience, increase engagement and ultimately, improve sales? My blog post Powerful Hashtags answers those questions.
For more basic information, Sidley lists six common questions that you may have regarding hashtags:
1. What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is simply the pound sign (#) in front of the word(s) or phrase you use to categorize your social media update. When used properly, they can make your posts more visible as the social platforms hyperlink them. If a user searches the hashtag or clicks on one, it brings up updates that contain the same hashtag.
2. How do I enter the conversation?
Figuring out which hashtag is the best fit for the topic you are writing about requires more than just making one up off the top of your head. Thankfully, there are quite a few websites designed to follow trends and help users identify which ones will be best for your social media strategy.
3. How do I use multiple words as hashtags?
Many hashtags have multiple words in them such as #ThrowbackThursday, #FoodieFriday, or an event name like #MarchMadness. When using multiple words in your hashtags, keep in mind that any punctuation or spaces will end the hashtag. So, remove apostrophes, commas, etc. Also, capitalize the first letter of each word to make it easy for users to read the phrase.
This also helps to avoid bad implications and associations. Susan Boyle’s PR team made a mistake with a hashtag. To promote Susan Boyle’s new album event, they came up with this unfortunate hashtag: #susanalbumparty. Susan Album Party, or Su’s Anal Bum Party? Capitalizing some letters would have helped, but obviously, a different hashtag would have worked better.
4. Can I make my own social media hashtags?
Absolutely! Creating your own hashtags for your customers and followers to use is a fantastic way to spread the word about your business or event. Simply place the # directly in front of the term you want to use. Use your business name or a unique, catchy phrase related to your product or services. Again, avoid the problem stated above.
Don’t forget to share the hashtags with your followers and encourage them to use these tags when they are talking about you on social media.
5. Is it okay to use more than one hashtag?
The answer is yes but not too many. The most you will want to use per social media post is three, except for Instagram and Pinterest. Research shows it is best to stick to just a few per social media update.
6. Should I only use hashtags on Twitter?
Even though Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags, using the same or similar hashtags across all of your social media channels will establish consistency. Most platforms have integrated the use of hashtags to allow your followers to identify content easily. However, how hashtags are used on the platforms varies, which will be discussed below.
How to use hashtags on popular social media sites: basic rules
All social media sites share a few basic rules when it comes to hashtags.
- Do not use punctuation or special characters; doing so will abruptly end the tag.
- Watch your spelling. Most spell check programs do not recognize hashtags. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure the spelling is correct. Misspelling a word in the tag will make it harder for people to find you.
- Hashtags are only visible in platform search results when profiles are set to be public. Private profiles can still use tags. However, people outside their social platform circles will not be able to see them.
Hashtags on popular social media sites: Twitter
While Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag, there are some things to keep in mind when using them.
- Hashtags using relevant words relating to broad topics allow you to break up information into smaller chunks, making the most out of a social media platform that thrives on brevity.
- You can use as many hashtags as you want within the character limit. However, Twitter’s help section recommends using no more than two in an update. Research shows that the best number of hashtags to use for Twitter is one, with an average of 90 interactions per post. Two hashtags have an average of 80 interactions per post, and then it drops significantly. So, even though Twitter popularized hashtags, use them sparingly.
Hashtags on popular social media sites: Facebook
Although Facebook allows hashtags, this social media platform is the one you want to be the most selective using them on.
- Influencers and brands typically create trending hashtags on the platform since most individuals have their accounts set to private.
- Use only one specific hashtag per update and place it at the end of the post. Doing this will catalog your message without having the tag distract from what you have to say.
- Do not include hashtags in every post. Instead, save them for when you want your update to be part of a larger conversation or drive awareness for something specific.
Hashtags on popular social media sites: Instagram
Instagram is a fantastic social media platform for using hashtags. They are an effective way for your business to index its content with similar updates.
- Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per photo or video posted, including comments posted by the same user.
- This is one of the only platforms where it is highly recommended to use a lot of hashtags. Simply put them at the end of your social media update preceded by a few line breaks that going between the hashtags and the update itself. This will keep the update visually clean for followers, while still giving your brand the benefit of as many hashtags as possible.
- Be aware of Instagram’s shadowban. If you use the same hashtags over and over again, the social media platform may decrease how many users see your updates. Change up the hashtags you use from update to update, and make sure they are relevant to the post you are sharing.
Hashtags on popular social media sites: Pinterest
Pinterest users often search for a specific topic, which makes hashtags extremely important for your updates on this platform.
- This is another social media site where it is okay to use many hashtags. Common wisdom is to include as many that are relevant, although Pinterest itself recommends limiting them to a maximum of 20.
- Research which hashtags are best by typing them into the Pin’s description. You can see how popular it is.
Hashtags on popular social media sites: LinkedIn
Although LinkedIn is the social media network for business professionals, hashtags are still beneficial to include as part of your strategy.
- The platform’s users are there to build professional relationships. So, you should use industry and topic-specific hashtags.
- Place hashtags at the end of your update, keeping your main message clean without the distraction.
- In general, stick to three relevant hashtags at the most.
- If you need ideas for which hashtags to use, keep an eye out for LinkedIn’s suggestions when you write your post. They will appear underneath the social media update itself.
The ultimate guide to a perfect social media strategy
Using hashtags can be an extremely useful social media tactic for brands of all sizes. Therefore, it should be an important part of your social media strategy. In The Ultimate Guide to a Perfect Social Media Strategy, you can read how creating a documented social media strategy focused on processes and goals can improve your results.
If you want to stay up to date about Instagram, I recently wrote a blog post called Top 10 Instagram Trends You Should Follow Now. I have noticed that entrepreneurs sometimes still struggle with Instagram Stories, so here is How Should the Entrepreneur Use Instagram Stories in 2019?