The Right Way to Use Hashtags on Social Media

Using Hashtags effectively
August 7, 2021

Did you know that #TwitterBestFandom is in the Guinness World Records as one of the most-used hashtags within a 24-hour period? It was created as a way to vote at the 14th Annual Soompi Awards; an award show for KPop fans. In just 24 hours, the hashtag was used almost 61 million times.

A few more examples of hashtags that went viral:

#ShareACoke
#WeAccept
#FamilyGreatly
#WorthSaying

Knowing how to use hashtags is crucial for any blogger who wants to increase visibility and build an audience on social media.

The Nature of Hashtags

The word "hashtag" is relatively new and was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014.

"a word or phrase with the symbol ‘#’ in front of it, used on social media websites and apps so that you can search for all messages with the same subject" (source)

Every hashtag begins with a hash symbol "#," otherwise known as a pound sign, followed by a string of letters. You can't include any other symbols in a hashtag. The same goes for punctuation, such as commas or quotation marks. 

However, you can use numbers. You can also use underscores, which help to create hashtags that are easy to read. 

Users can search for specific hashtags, follow them, and even use them in their own posts.

Use Memorable and Relevant Hashtags

Instead of a hashtag like #thebesthotdogsinalloforlandoflorida_2021, you can simplify it to #BestOrlandoHotdogs. Something short and easy to spell is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Also, avoid using irrelevant hashtags. Doing so can result in your content appearing in the feeds of people who have little or no interest in your content.

With relevant hashtags, you'll be able to tap into the right audience.

Don't go Overboard

Often a single hashtag is all you need. Using too many can make a social media post look spammy and work against you rather than for you.

For instance, imagine that you're posting to celebrate a holiday, such as Valentine's day. The hashtag #VDay will look clean and sleek and allow you to reach people interested in Valentine's day gifts or events.

Valentineday hashtags

It also helps to adopt at least one catchy hashtag that relates to your brand/niche. If, for example, you have a beauty blog, you could make a habit of using #LookAmazing, or something similar.

When you keep hashtags to a minimum, the important ones will stand out, be more memorable to your audience, and have a greater impact. And, some social media platforms will block posts that contain too many hashtags.

If you're posting on PinterestTwitter, or Facebook,  limit it to two per post. Instagram allows you to use a total of 30 hashtags for every post, but you'll get better engagement by limiting it to less than ten. 

With TikTok and LinkedIn, keep it to less than five for each post.

Take Advantage of Popularity

If you want to choose the best hashtags, you need to stay in the loop about what's popular

Some hashtags have lifespans that are shorter than mayflies, while others will always be popular. However, even a briefly-lived hashtag can get you a ton of valuable exposure.

Trendy hashtags for Twitter or other social media sites are often associated with news-related events. Not every trending hashtag will be suitable for your posts, which is why you should always have your feelers out.

And, you can get creative with popular hashtags. For instance, NYRB published a two-volume novel by the German writer Uwe Johnson. When the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was released, NYRB published a Tweet on Twitter, along with a relevant hashtag, asking readers if they had gotten their double dose of Johnson yet.

Overall, it's best to have a balance between popular hashtags invented by someone else and custom hashtags that you've created for your brand and your posts.

Do Your Research

Aside from being aware of what's going on across social media sites, you should also pay attention to any holidays that are coming up. There are obvious ones like Christmas and St. Patrick's Day. Still, you could get a lot out of more eccentric or unusual holidays like Opposite Day or National Ice Cream Day!

Free Tools

There are some useful free sites that will generate a ton of hashtags for you based on the keywords you enter.

Bigbangram is an Instagram hashtag generator, but you can use it for any social media site.

Allhashtag generates hashtags for multiple social media sites.

Metahashtags is another one for Instagram, but as above, it can be used anywhere.

Reach a Wider Audience

Using hashtags effectively on social media will help your content to reach as wide an audience as possible and help you to build up your social media following. Ultimately this means more targeted traffic to your blog, which also means more revenue

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Theo McArthur

Theo McArthur has been blogging for more than 20 years and has extensive experience with WordPress, content marketing, and affiliate marketing. In 2016 she launched the video training course, 'Blog for a Living', and has taught over 22,000 students how to set up their own successful blog

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