It’s 2020, and we can assure you that almost everyone knows what hashtags are. We can’t however, assure that everyone knows how to use them well. 

When used correctly, hashtags make it easier for social network users to find related content. They can help boost one’s social shares, increasing visibility in the process. Used incorrectly however, and they will negatively impact one’s credibility on social media. In fact, one could experience an inverse effect of decreased social activity. 

It’s even more complicated when we look at hashtag used outside Twitter, where they are very popular. 

In this article, we’d explain what hashtags are, and break down the basics you need to use hashtags on your social platforms effectively, and why you should use them.  

    We’d also be sharing,

  • The necessary tips needed to use hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Why you shouldn’t join the crowd in the use of only popular hashtags,
  • And how to find the best hashtags that will work best for your brand.

    Let’s begin now, shall we?

What are hashtags? 

In 2007, Twitter introduced hashtags to the social media world, and they’ve confused media professionals and marketers ever since. 

Simply put, a hashtag is that pound symbol on your keyword used to categorize social media content into easily navigable lists.  When you include the # + a keyword in a tweet, it becomes visible online, alongside posts using that same hashtag. 

Since its launch in 2007, the use of hashtags has grown from strength to strength, spreading to other social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.  Now, everyone uses them to connect their social media content to a specific conversation, theme, event, or topic. 

Hashtags also make it simpler to find posts around any specific topic, as they aggregate every social media content using that same hashtag.

The basics of Hashtags

  • Hashtags always begin with #. 
  • They will not work if you make use of symbols, spaces or punctuations. 
  • The best hashtags should be relatively short and easy to remember, so you shouldn’t join too many words together. 
  • You have to make use of specific and relevant hashtags for people to easily find them. If your hashtags are too obscure, they will be difficult to find, and won’t likely be used by other users. 
  • The amount of hashtags you use should be limited. Using so many hashtags will make your content look spammy. In this case, less is more. 
  • For your hashtag content to be seen by non-followers, and a wider audience, you have to make your accounts public. 

Benefits of using hashtags

  • Hashtags can help enhance conversations and promote your business. 
  • They increase engagement through new followers, comments, shares, and likes. 
  • When you use a hashtag related to an issue, you tend to show support. 
  • You can also use hashtags to contextualize topics, without writing repetitive captions or using up characters especially when the social platform has limited characters for posts. 
  • Hashtags also help your target audience find you with ease. 

How to find the best hashtags

You’d need to properly research if you want to find the best hashtags for your brand, industry, or audience. These tips should help:

  1. Research your competitors, and the kind of hashtags they use.
  2. If you understand how hashtags work, try to use related ones. They are usually more detailed that the popular ones you are using, and will help you connect to your targeted audience. 
  3. Pay attention to the hashtags or patterns that worked for you in the past, and try to use again. 

Trending hashtags

How to use hashtags on Twitter

It is best to restrict your hashtags on Twitter to 1 or 2 even though Twitter allows as many as possible. You can use them at the beginning of your tweet, in the middle, or at the end. You can also add them in a comment when retweeting, in your bio, or when you reply tweets. 

Before creating a new hashtag, do some research, using the tips above. You want a unique hashtag. You’d find trending hashtags in Twitter’s trending topics

How to use hashtags on LinkedIn

Just like with Facebook and Twitter, we advise the use of just one or two hashtags for LinkedIn. Your hashtags should be kept professional, as LinkedIn is a professional platform. 

  • Your LinkedIn hashtags should be incorporated anywhere in your LinkedIn article or your written updates. 
  • You can search for hashtags on the ‘search’ bar. 
  • Hashtags that are trending will appear in the ‘news and views’ section on LinkedIn’s home page. 
  • LinkedIn will also suggest hashtags as you write an update. 

For example, #Socialmediastrategy has over 1000 followers

However, #Socialmediastrategies has none

How to use hashtags on Facebook

Do you really need to use hashtags on Facebook? 

According to statistics that show that hashtags on Facebook do not improve engagement, the answer is no.

If you must use them however, here’s what you should know:

  • Use just one or two.
  • You can include them in any part of your Facebook posts or in the comments. 
  • To find the best hashtags for you, use the ‘search’ or ‘search this group’ bars on Facebook. 
  • Monitor your brand’s hashtags and see which public profiles are joining in the conversation by using the URL facebook.com/hashtag/_____. Include the keyword you want to search at the end.