The use of hashtags for social media marketing is nothing new, but we hope that this guide will help you on your #hashtag journey analyzing if you should use hashtags, how many hashtags to use and what kind of exposure hashtags can give you across Facebook,Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more.
The hashtag symbol itself came into existence sometime around the 14th century. Before it was used on telephones and Twitter, the hashtag came from “lb,” the Latin abbreviation for “pound”. Thus in the U.S. it was called the pound sign for a while.
According to dictionary.com, the hashtag’s official name is the ‘octothorpe’, a name invented by telephone technicians when they added the symbol to telephone keypads. It wasn’t called hashtag until its usage became popular on social media.
The hashtag’s usage as a way to find posts about a common topic began with tweet in 2007, suggesting that people used hashtags to create groups on Twitter.
From there, hashtags gained momentum, eventually becoming the social media staple it is today.
So, now that we know how the #hashtag came into existence, we can look at how to use hashtags on each social media platform.
Using hashtags on Facebook can get your posts more exposure – but you have to use them the right way.
Don’t use too many hashtags. This will make your business look annoying and/or spammy. Instead, go for 1-2 hashtags per post for the best engagement. If you use more than two hashtags in a Facebook post, research suggests you’ll see less engagement.
Make your Facebook post public (and make sure to allow people to follow you). Otherwise, only friends and followers will see your posts with hashtags. When you make your #Facebook post public, it will enable anyone to see the post if they search for a hashtag that you’ve included in a post.
Tweets with #hashtags tend to see significantly more engagement that other tweets. There are rules about using hashtags on Twitter, including how to use hashtags in Twitter ads.
#Tweets with 1-2 hashtags see, on average, around 21% more engagement. The key tip here is don’t go overboard. Just a couple of hashtags in your tweet should do the trick. Tweets with hashtags generate more retweets. But tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” will get you even more engagement.
Be careful using hashtags in ads on Twitter. Research shows that you’ll probably get more ad clicks if you don’t use a hashtag. Research trending hashtags for maximum impact!
If it seems as if the sweet spot across all social media platforms is 1-2 hashtags, this is not the case on Instagram. That’s probably why so many Instagram posts have seemingly endless hashtags.
Here are some tips for using hashtags on Instagram:
#Hashtags on Google+ are different than hashtags on other platforms. They’ll still help you reach more people than posts that don’t include hashtags, but that’s where the similarities end.
Here’s what you should know about hashtags on Google+:
LinkedIn hasn’t always supported hashtags, but, LinkedIn hashtags are back! You can use them in pretty much the same way you’d use a hashtag anywhere else.
People can search for hashtags on #LinkedIn in the same way they can on other platforms, and LinkedIn uses hashtags to monitor what’s important to users so it can show them more relevant content.
This is how you should use hashtags on LinkedIn:
Pinterest announced that hashtags are now a working feature on the platform. The announcement will enable #Pinners to easily discover new content, as well as ensure their content is seen by more, yet relevant users.
Pinners are recommended to utilize “no more than 20 hashtags” and to be descriptive as possible.
#Pinterest would like a robust dataset offering per pin, but has likely figured out internally that anything beyond 20 hashtags is territory of the non-relevant.
Recommended hashtag use has been split into 2 categories: ‘timely’ and ‘evergreen’. Pinterest wants what Twitter and Instagram have struggled with: getting usage of both.
Twitter is ‘of the moment’, with examples of “evergreen” hashtags being the ones that occur weekly. Instagram has more success with both categories than Twitter but the users do have their staples that they primarily stuck to.
Promoted Pins won’t show up in hashtag feeds yet (mostly). #Pinterest wants to see if Pinners will actually use the feature. Pinterest is more inclined to test and learn, as opposed to dropping a new feature and going straight to ads. Thus, Pinterest wants the data to support the additional targeting that advertisers will require.
As with all things marketing, you should do a little research on hashtags before you go throwing them into every social media post you publish for your business.
Look at what your competition is doing with hashtags. Are they using any at all? Do they bombard their followers with hashtags? Is their strategy driving customer engagement?
If they’re doing a good job, try to mimic what they’re doing for a while until you get the hang of it, then build your own hashtag strategy off the back of that.
All the above cover the basics of hashtags across the major platform.
Wherever you use them, hopefully our advice has provided some guidance and inspiration to get your hashtag strategy on track!