How to Use Hashtags for Social Media (2023): A Simple and Easy Guide

Hashtags are a great way to increase organic reach for your social media campaigns, while also making them easy to track and share amongst your target audience. Every social media platform has its own unique set of hashtags that you can use.

Of course you need to make sure you don’t go overboard with your hashtag use, but it never hurts to be one of the brands consumers start referring to as an ‘expert’ on a certain topic.

With the ever-changing nature of social media, it’s sometimes hard to determine which hashtags are best for each platform. Sometimes that’s because there are so many options, but sometimes it’s because of the type of content you want to share.

Which is why we have created this blog post, which outlines what certain hashtags can be used for and which will lead to more engagement with your posts. You can use these tips on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to help generate more leads, build trust, and get more!

Let’s get started.

What are Hashtags?

A hashtag is simply a word that comes after the pound (#) symbol. It is a way of referring to a specific piece of content.

When you add a # to the beginning of a word in a tweet, Twitter automatically adds that content to identify a content on social media platforms. You can use hashtags to get a stronger connection with your audience and save them time searching for relevant content.

When someone tags their tweet with a #, it automatically grabs the attention of other people on Twitter who might also be interested in the topic being discussed.

Here are some basic things you need to know about hashtags:

  • Don't use spaces, punctuation or symbols in your hashtag. They always start with the pound symbol and are meant to simplify and structure your content, not confuse people.
  • Make sure you have a public profile where you can be easily found by anyone who might want to find out more about you.
  • It is advisable to keep hashtags short and easy to remember. Don’t use too many words at once.
  • Use hashtags that are relevant to you. By doing this, it increases the chances of other users using the same hashtag to find your content when they search for it.
  • Use hashtags sparingly. While they can be effective if used correctly, over-using them looks like you’re trying to spam your audience.

Brief history of hashtags

Chris Messina is an American blogger, product consultant and speaker. He is best known for his early work on the hashtag as it is currently used on social media platforms.

When Twitter was first launched, it did not have a hashtag feature. Not surprisingly, users were initially disappointed that they saw irrelevant content.

Chris Messina, was looking for a better way to organize information on the twitter platform. Messina's ideas on how to fix the problem were straightforward. He took inspiration from IRC, and unleashed the first Twitter hashtag on August 23, 2007. Although, the hashtag wasn’t utilised till the 2007 California wildfires in October 2007.

Why You Should Use Hashtags

Trying to get people to notice the content you create, is like talking to a brick wall. No one sees your genius post or quotes when you don't use hashtags.

Hashtags help people find you. A hashtag is added to a word or phrase and it is then visible to others looking for that tag. So why aren’t you using them? They allow you to build up your social circle and get more eyes on your name.

Learn how and which hashtags you can use for your own social media content to expose it to a ready-made audience of millions.

Increase engagement

A recent study showed that hashtags are 80% effective at increasing engagement on social media platforms. This is particularly true for users in the 18-34 age bracket, who are rapidly growing engaged with their favorite brands.

instagram hashtags

If you take a look at some of the most popular hashtags recently used by sports teams, entertainment personalities or product retailers you'll see what we are referring to. These users are not only engaging with the content they're seeing but have a better perspective on what the brands truly values.

Adding hashtags to your posts can get you more engagement on your social media accounts, it can help get the word out about the content you're providing. Try writing the first paragraph of your post in a way that will highlight the importance of the topic and ask people to share it with their friends or followers using the relevant hashtags.

Build your brand

Use hashtags to build your brand. When you start a business you should think about how you are going to market it. That means using hashtags to help connect with other business owners. A quick search for #marketing will bring up plenty of ideas.

It’s easy to forget that every time you post a photo on Instagram or Linkedin there are people waiting to see what you have to say.

Yet as important as it is for your business “to be seen”, it is even more important for your personal “to be heard”. Information travels fast on the Internet and if you don’t take advantage of it soon enough your business could be missing out on potential opportunities.

Show support for social issues

hastags social issues

Social issues are ones that affect a wide audience, such as social injustice or discrimination. When these issues come up, people rally around and speak out for their rights.

This happens all the time on Twitter and Facebook, where people show their support for a variety of causes. You can use these media platforms to spread awareness about social issues by using hashtags and posting messages that include them; this will allow people who aren't as involved to see what issues matter to you and get involved.

Using a hashtag that’s connected to an issue beyond your brand is a way for any brand to lend its voice and resources to support an important cause or issue.

For example, #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM was used across social media platforms, including Instagram, to build awareness and show support for the value of black people.

Help target audience find you

Using hashtags to attract new users is a great way to get in front of them and help them find you. It also helps you build relationships with your target audience, which is extremely important when building an organic business.

If someone searches for you, but doesn’t know what you do, they just wasted time looking at a page that wasn’t even related to their search. Some business owners are even using hashtags to attract new visitors straight to their profile.

On platforms like Linkedin and Instagram, social media users can follow specific hashtags including that of other users. Using some popular hashtags can be another way to help new users find your brand.

For example, if you follow #jobseekers hashtag on LinkedIn posts, you will see recent posts relating to this topic on your feed. This is a good way to find relevant information regarding that topic.

How to find the best hashtags for every social media platform

You know hashtags are helpful for your social media marketing, but where do you start?

How do you know which hashtags to use? How do you find the “best” ones? Which ones will give you the response you’re hoping for from your followers, clients and customers?

Hashtags used well can be a powerful tool to extend your reach, engage an audience with your brand and get results. There are many different social media platforms and each has its own set of rules though.

Here you will find easy tips for using hashtags on different social media platforms.

How to use hashtags on Twitter

To make your Tweets more visible, try using hashtags. Hashtags are a powerful way to appeal to a global audience and attract the attention of people who are interested in your content.

There are 3 ways to use hashtags in your Tweets: at the top of the post where your followers can see them, at the end of a conversation ro wrap up your ideas, or within the content itself. In all cases, the more relevant and prominent a tag, the better.

twitter trending hashtags

Hashtags can also be added in your comment section, your replies and even your Twitter bio.

Twitter hashtag tips:

  • The best number of hashtags to use on Twitter is 1-2.
    You can type a keyword phrase into Twitter’s search bar to find hashtagged content.
    Finding trending hashtags and topics is super easy when you click on your homepage section.
    Twitter has a 280 character limit, you can use as many hashtags as you like in a Tweet, as long as it's within this limit.
    Before using any hashtag, ensure you do some research first to avoid using hashtags that may be bad for your brand image.

How to use hashtags on Facebook

If you are using Facebook to promote a business, blog or other content be sure to use hashtags that will help connect your posts to people who are interested in the topics you are sharing.

Hashtags can be used to promote your posts on Facebook by including them in any part of your posts. When people view your posts, they may click on one of the hashtags listed under the post and view content related to that hashtag.

Hashtags can also help keep your posts visible in news feeds for longer periods of time if they contain certain keywords.

Brands should also use hashtags to create groupings of content on the private Facebook groups they belong to. This is especially important as Facebook users shift away from public channels.

Facebook hashtag tips:

  • You can search for any hashtag using Facebook’s search bar.
    By clicking on the hashtag you can see Facebook posts relating to that same hashtag.
    Find hashtags used in private Facebook groups by using the “search this group” bar under the group’s menu.
    The best number of hashtags to use on Facebook is 1-2.
    You can see which public profiles are using your hashtags by using Facebook's URL search. It includes the keyword you want to search starting with

How to use hashtags on Instagram

When you create a great caption, incorporating hashtags can help you grow your Instagram community. Including hashtags in the comments section is a splendid way to engage with your followers.

Instagram allows you to incorporate up to 10 hashtags in your stories. You can also add hashtags to your brand’s Instagram profile bio.

Instagram hashtag tips:

  • Discover hashtags in the Tags part of Instagram’s Explore section.
    Whenever you follow hashtags content from any creator will show in your feed.
    The optimal number of hashtags to use on Instagram is 5 to 10.
    You can post your hashtags as the first comment in your post so your followers can focus on the great caption you have created.
    You can access your Instagram Insights if you have an Instagram Business account This enables you to find out the impressions your profile got from hashtags.

How to use hashtags on YouTube

youtube hashtags

Hashtags are now a part of YouTube’s search algorithm. This means that if you add a hashtag that is related to your video, it has the potential of showing up in your viewers’ search results.

YouTube hashtags are one of the surefire ways to help users discover your video. You can do this by adding a few hashtags in your brand’s YouTube video description or in your video title.

Hashtags here are usually hyperlinked and you can click them to find other videos with the same content category and hashtag.

Click on the hyperlinked hashtag to see a feed with other videos that also use that same hashtag.

Using more than 15 hashtags on your YouTube content will make YouTube flag your content as spam content.

YouTube hashtag tips:

  • The optimal number of hashtags to use on Youtube is 2 to 3.
    Hashtags are usually hyperlinked in the video titles and descriptions, this allows other followers to see content with the same hashtags by clicking on them.
    If you're not including hashtags in the video title, the first three hashtags in your description will appear on the right-hand side of your video.

How to use hashtags on LinkedIn

Using hashtags in LinkedIn can help you stand out from other LinkedIn users and attract new users.

It can also help you get more engagement on your LinkedIn posts and save time as you don't have to scroll through hundreds of posts to find what you're interested in.

LinkedIn also allows you to follow any hashtag of your choice, this will enable you to see content related to that specific hashtag. You can add hashtags anywhere in your LinkedIn posts and in the LinkedIn article you write.

Linkedin hashtag tips:

  • You can see hashtags using LinkedIn’s search bar.
    Find viral LinkedIn hashtags in the “news and views” section on your home page.
    You will see hashtag suggestions as you write your LinkedIn post.
    The optimal number of hashtags to use on LinkedIn is 1 to 2.
    LinkedIn is a professional platform so ensure you stick to professional hashtags.
    By following hashtags on LinkedIn, you can see recent posts relating to those hashtags.

How to use hashtags on Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual social media platform. Just like every other platform, keywords are essential for content discovery on Pinterest.

This is why it’s vital to utilise them in your company, board, pin names and descriptions. Hashtags are also useful, especially since Pinners can follow hashtags that they’re interested in making them super useful for your brand.

When creating a new pin, start by adding a title and description. Ensure you include keywords and related hashtags. Pinterest also suggests hashtags when you are creating a new Pin although this feature is only available in the mobile version.

Pinterest hashtag tips:

  • The optimal number of hashtags to use on Instagram is 2 to 5.
    Make use of hashtags that are searchable, specific and contain relevant keywords.
    Don’t use more than 20 hashtags in your Pin description.

What are the relevant hashtags that you can use for your business?

The best way to think about hashtags is that they're like a currency.

It's easy to use a lot of them, but if you don't have anything worth saying, or if you say something that's already been said by someone else, it might not look as fresh or effective to other people. Rather create content that is unique to you and boost its reach using relevant hashtags.

In 2007, the use of hashtags became popular in social media. Today, they are even more useful for brands than they once were.

Heroes of Digital is a social media marketing company. We take your brand and build a following by creating engaging content, generating organic traffic from our audience, and building a buzz that drives new customers to you.

Xavier Tan
Xavier is the Co-Founder of Heroes of Digital. He started social media marketing and SEM long before it became popular in Singapore. His passion is in helping businesses grow through effective lead generation. He has overseen campaigns for Amara Hotel, NTU, Marina Bay, L'Oreal, and 100+ SMEs.
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