How the heck to use hashtags if you didn't grow up using them

Hashtags are words or phrases using a hash sign

Let’s start at the beginning…

Hashtags are words or phrases using a hash sign (#). That’s right; they’re not just for phones anymore. They are popular on multiple social media platforms and work as keywords to categorize and connect relevant content. They help in the process of content discovery, sorting, and work as a clickable link.

And why the heck do we even use hashtags?

Every social media channel has its own best practices to use hashtags. However, the main idea behind how to define which hashtag to use for each post is basically the same. You are trying to get your content to the right audience. It is that simple. But, at the same time, it is also a tiny bit more complex too… as you need to think from the end user’s perspective.

Are hashtags used differently on different social platforms?

Well, yes.

Instagram allows you to post a 2,200 character caption and up to 30 hashtags. But before you post your life story it is advised that you keep the length of each post to a minimum of 1 or 2 lines of text. Otherwise, the reader will get overwhelmed, especially if there are already a lot of hashtags in the post. Using hashtags here helps in the process of content discovery, sorting content and linking campaigns. You can also follow hashtags to keep updated on related content. 

Twitter has a much more sensible 280-character limit per Tweet (post). Also, the platform recommends to use “no more than two hashtags per Tweet as a best practice, but you may use as many hashtags in a Tweet as you like”. Just like with Instagram, try to keep things short and sweet.

Facebook is a different story, hashtags just aren’t too popular here. Similarly to what Twitter recommends, research shows that using more than two hashtags drops interaction dramatically. Study your audience carefully before you decide to use hashtags on Facebook.

LinkedIn was a late adopter to the use of hashtags, but still function under the same parameters. They support serving up content to the right audience. We recommend only using 2 or 3 hashtags so that you are not turning off your followers by inundating them.

Special tips on using hashtags

Create your own branded hashtags. Use your business name, product/service name, and campaign name. For example: #MaguireMktg, #GetMoreCustomers, #ExecutivePersonalBranding, #GrowProgram

Use community hashtags to connect like-minded users around specific content of interest to them. For example, Environmentally related - #GoGreen, #LessPlastic, #SustainabilityMatters

Use daily hashtags. For example: #SundayFun, #MondayMotivation, #TopicTuesday, #WednesdayWisdom, #TBT, #FridayFun, #SocialSaturday

What to consider when making your own hashtags

  • Think about your company/product/service/post subject.

  • Think about your customers – What are they looking for?

  • Pay attention to your competitors and within your industry for buzzwords and hashtags that relate to your content.

  • You have to try to find trending hashtags but also will have to be creative. All the famous hashtags started as something small but became big.

Things you need to know

  • Hashtags don’t support special characters. Only letters, numbers and underscores ( _ ).

  • Don’t use all uppercase, for example, use #MaguireMktg instead of #MAGUIREMKTG

If you are wondering if its worth learning how to use hashtags the answer is YES. By not using hashtags you risk losing exposure for yourself or your business. But the incorrect use of hashtags can detract from your brand.