Having a strong hashtag strategy in place not only helps ensure the success of your organic social media content, but it also assists your target market to find your business on social media. But, before you dive in, it’s important to understand how to use hashtags for maximum effectiveness as well as recognise how hashtags work on different platforms.
Most people relate hashtags to Twitter. But unless you are in politics, sports, or a celebrity, Twitter generally isn’t the platform we at House of Social use, nor do most of our clients. The main platform for hashtags is, of course, Instagram but hashtags can be used effectively on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook as well.
We’ll talk mostly about Instagram first and come back to the other platforms a little later. In general, Instagram allows you to have up to 30 hashtags on each post. But just because you can doesn’t mean you always should. 15-20 well considered and properly curated hashtags can be just as (if not more) effective than 30 random hashtags that are just used to take up space.
Best practice suggests that your hashtags should be a mix of generic and specific hashtags. Try to aim for:
- 3-5 very popular hashtags that relate to your brand or industry (300k – 1mill followers)
- 3-5 moderately popular hashtags that relate to your brand or industry (80k – 300k followers)
- 3-5 industry/solution/customer relevant hashtags (fewer than 80k followers) and
- 1-2 branded hashtags (specific hashtags branded for your business)
The reason hashtags are so important on Instagram is, in addition to accounts, they can be used as search terms, and followed – users can create feeds that relate to specific hashtags. Hashtags act as labels for your content, can be used to group similar types of content together and can help your content be found. So, it’s important for your business to be thinking seriously about how to use this very powerful piece of search criteria.
Facebook & LinkedIn
Hashtags on Facebook and LinkedIn can be powerful but you do need to be careful not to go overboard – definitely stick to a few (1-3 max) hashtags that are specifically relevant to your business, brand or industry. Or hashtags that are related to the content you are posting.
On Instagram, your hashtags should be posted in a block rather than as a list, and while the algorithm on placement is always changing, it is cleaner and neater to insert them as the first comment on your post, rather than at the bottom of the caption. On Facebook and LinkedIn, hashtags are best inserted within the body of the caption or at the bottom of your post. If you are going to use hashtags within the text of your post, keep it to a minimum otherwise it makes reading the sentence very frustrating for your audience.
Hashtags can be great for cross-promotion and are particularly relevant for events to keep all user-generated content linked. A clever hashtag will be shared widely and this can increase your reach.
Do your research! There are a number of tools available to assist with hashtag research and it’s here that AI technology can be very useful to cut down on your research time. And we recommend not using all the same hashtags for every post – that’s sometimes seen to be spammy. So, aim to mix it up and feel free to experiment – you’ll soon see if it’s working for you.
Having a hashtag strategy means you’ve done your research and you have a pool of hashtags from which to draw when you are planning your content and scheduling posts. At House of Social, we love a #hashtag and we love creating hashtag strategies for businesses – if this sounds like something you need, then let’s talk. Here’s how to get in touch with us.