A hashtag is a way of categorising your content so that it can be found under a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. Hashtags effectively gather together all types of content with the same ‘label’.
Your hashtag must always start with the hashtag symbol #, and they won’t work if you start adding spaces, punctuation or symbols. It’s worth doing a little research to ensure you’re using relevant and specific hashtags for your content.
So, why should your business use hashtags?
Your business can create its very own branded hashtags. This is useful when you wish to access UGC (User Generated Content). It makes it easy to find content that mentions you and your business, content that you can also share.
Hashtags can lead to increased engagement on your posts, and can boost your brand's visibility - through likes, comments and shares.
They can also help you summarise your social media post, so that your audience knows which topic you’re talking about. This is good when you have a character limit, as you can save vital space by giving context to your post with a simple hashtag.
How do you find the right hashtags?
Now you know why you should be using hashtags, it’s time to find the best hashtags for you. One of the easiest ways to find relevant and effective hashtags is to monitor social media influencers who have an affinity with your topic - see what hashtags they’re using.
If you’re searching on Instagram for a hashtag, the app will show you hashtags that are relevant to the one you’re searching for. This can help you build an archive of related hashtags that you can refer back to.
Hashtags can also highlight news/trends and tell you what people are talking about. It’s then possible to ‘piggyback’ on these current news affairs or trends with relevant content. You can also purchase software that finds and analyses hashtags for you, so you don't have to do the hard work, which is perfect if you don’t have the time.
How many hashtags should you use on social media?
This depends on which social media platform you're using.
Twitter - They recommend using no more than 1-2 hashtags, but there is no limit as long as you stay within your character limit.
Facebook - Just like Twitter, Facebook recommends sticking to 1-2 hashtags.
Instagram - There’s a limit of 30 hashtags for your Instagram feed and up to 10 in your stories. They recommend using between 5-10 on your feed posts.
YouTube - They limit the user to 15 hashtags, but advise that you use 2-3 hashtags in your posts.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn recommends using 1-2 hashtags on your posts.
Now you know how to use hashtags and how many to include, you’re ready to increase reach and engagement across your social media profiles.
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