Hashtags offer a fun and simple way of drawing attention to your social media posts. But which platforms use these tools, and how should you deploy them? Take a look at how you can use hashtags to promote your content on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Hashtag Basics

Wondering how to get people to notice your content on social media? Hashtags are some of the most social aspects of platforms like Instagram and Twitter. They allow people to discover new accounts and posts to interact with based on common interests. You can click on a hashtag for something that interests you and be exposed to all the other posts on the platform sharing that tag. This makes hashtags an essential aspect of social media marketing.

The good thing about hashtags is that they work in the same basic way across every platform. You’ll use the hash symbol (#) followed by a string of text. When entered correctly, this becomes a clickable link that takes users to a list of every post that uses the hashtag. For example, #puppy is likely to bring up pictures or discussion of baby dogs on every platform.

Also common across all platforms is the fact that hashtags cut off as soon as you enter a space. A rookie mistake is to make a hashtag like #perfectsummerday but try to write it like a sentence, with spaces between “perfect,” “summer” and “day.” Doing this makes the hashtag render as #perfect, with the other two words lagging behind, not included in the link. Most social networks also only allow alphanumeric characters (letters and numbers) and not symbols in hashtags. This means no punctuation or special symbols, though this does vary.

The fact that you can’t use spaces means you need to be strategic in how you word hashtags. Don’t use complicated words that people easily misspell, and try to keep your hashtags short and to the point. Remember, too, that the goals are to find the people who’ll search under a specific hashtag and to stand out from the crowd. That means that it’s actually best to use hashtags that are popular but not so common that your content becomes a drop in the bucket.

How-To Hashtags Guide by Platform

The basic functionality of hashtags, including best practices, is similar across different social media platforms. However, there are some subtleties to be aware of.

Instagram

You can add hashtags to your Instagram bio and to captions for photo or video. You’re limited to 30 hashtags for each post, and your content will only be discoverable if your account is public. It can be tempting to add lots of hashtags to your Instagram posts, but remember that the focus should be on providing high-quality content first. Then, you can think about selecting some popular hashtags that fit in well with your brand and the specific content in question.

Use a hashtag generator tool or see what’s trending on Instagram to select the most effective hashtags, and don’t overdo it. Just because you can post 30 doesn’t mean you should. Too much can look desperate and unpolished.

Twitter

Hashtags can go anywhere in a Twitter post, whether you’re captioning a photo or simply tweeting a few words. This provides a lot of flexibility, as does the fact that Twitter is mostly a text-focused platform. However, you’ll want to keep character count limits in mind.

One great thing about strategizing Twitter hashtags is that the site’s Trending Topics are largely determined by the hashtags that are currently in heavy use. People who want to follow a particular news story, meme or other event can click on a hashtag under Trending Topics and see relevant content. This means you can easily hop onto the trend train by using these popular hashtags. Just remember that you want to appeal to your audience, not annoy them. Don’t piggyback onto irrelevant hashtags just for the sake of it.

Facebook

Many Facebook users keep their personal accounts private. That means that clicking on hashtags on this social platform will expose you primarily to brand accounts and other professional user posts. This can be a good thing; it gives you an idea of what people are talking about and what responses your potential competition is getting. You can sort posts within a hashtag feed by popularity and other criteria, which can further help you study what’s going on.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is fairly new to the hashtag game; the conversation on this social network isn’t as broad as on the other three platforms mentioned above. You can only use hashtags on updates and articles, not in your profile. For articles, you’ll add hashtags not to the body of the piece but to the “Tell your network what the article is about” field that pops up after you hit “publish.” Make sure to include a relevant article summary in addition to your hashtags.

Onward to Hashtag Success

There’s a lot more nuance to using hashtags than just adding them to your content in the right way. Knowing which social media platforms accept them and how is a great first start. No matter which platform you use, remember that you need to pair hashtags with exciting, relevant content for your strategy to pay off.

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