Hashtags are very easy to use and can make your social media postings shareable and discoverable if they are used correctly.
There are specific guidelines to follow for each social network that will help you increase your overall social media exposure.
In this guide, you’ll learn what is a hashtag, how to make your own hashtags, and how to use them effectively.
What is a Hashtag?
Hashtags or hash tagging is a way to add metadata to content you publish on social media so that it is easier to be found, followed, and understood by people and social media sites.
A hashtag starts with the # symbol and is followed by a word or words without spaces.
For example, here are some of the popular hashtags in the SEO industry: #SEO, #digitalmarketing, #googleseo, #seotips.
Hashtags are not case sensitive so #hashtag is the same as #HashTag. You can also use numbers with your tag so #10SEOTips is a valid hashtag.
Hashtags are supported by all social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
The table below shows the recommended number of hashtags per social network.
|Social Network||No of # Hashtags|
Why Use Hashtags?
There are many benefits of using hashtags in your social media posts. The most important are:
- Users following the particular hashtag can see your posts even if they are not part of your followers. In other words, by using popular hashtags in your posts you can reach a larger audience.
- It’s a way to add your own posts to an existing story. Let’s say you want to add a response to a trending story on Twitter. All you have to do is use relevant hashtags in your Tweets so that people following that story will also see your updates.
- Hashtags make it easier for social networks to categorize your updates and this makes them more visible to their search results. For example, by adding the hashtag #SEO on a tweet, you give the indication to Twitter that your tweet is about SEO. This means that it will appear in the search results when users search for SEO on Twitter.
- Studies show that hashtags can increase post engagement (more on this below).
How to Make Your Own Hashtags?
You can create your own hashtags by adding a # sign and the words you want (without spaces). For example, if you want to add your own hashtag to a tweet, you can do this:
In the example above, once the tweet is published, the hashtag #reliablesoft will be created.
A hashtag becomes trending when a large number of people use it in their messages.
This is a very powerful way for businesses to communicate with their clients and get the conversation going.
For example, go to Twitter and search for #nike to see how Nike is using hashtags for brand awareness and promotion.
Hashtags in Google Search Results
It may be a surprise to some but you can use hashtags while searching Google. For example, if you type #SEO in the google search box you will get links to the #SEO pages on Twitter.
Depending on the search term you use, Google may show you results from Facebook or other social networks.
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How to Use Hashtags on Social Networks
Let’s see how to use hashtags on major social networks.
- How to use hashtags on Twitter
- How to use hashtags on Facebook
- How to use hashtags on Instagram
- How to use hashtags on Pinterest
- How to use hashtags on LinkedIn
- How to use hashtags on TikTok
- How to use hashtags on YouTube
How to use hashtags on Twitter
Twitter was the first platform to use hashtags. The first-ever tweet with a hashtag was posted in 2007 by a former Google employee and since then hashtags became very popular on Twitter.
Studies show that tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement (tweets, retweets, clicks, and replies) than tweets without hashtags.
The recommended number of hashtags for a tweet for maximum exposure is 2.
This does not mean that if you use 1 or 3 is bad, it is simply a recommendation based on research studies.
How to find trending hashtags on Twitter
View the Trending Tab: Login to Twitter, click #Explore from the left menu, and then the Trending tab. To view the tweets for a particular hashtag, just click on the hashtag link.
Use Twitter Search: To follow all tweets for a particular hashtag just enter the hashtag (with the # sign) in the search box and hit enter. The timeline will now show the TOP tweets containing your hashtag or ALL tweets.
You can click SAVE to save your search so that next time you click on the Twitter search box, you can choose to view your saved search.
Create a tweet with a popular hashtag: When you create a new tweet and enter the # symbol and start typing, Twitter will make recommendations on the hashtag to use. You can either select one from the list or create your own.
Best practices for using hashtags on Twitter
- Use hashtags consistently – using hashtags consistently helps your brand connect with the Twitter community and according to Twitter, this leads to an increase in brand awareness.
- Keep it short and to the point – making your hashtags easy to read and remember makes them more shareable and discoverable. If using more than one word, capitalize each word to make them easier to read.
- Use trending hashtags in your tweets – Use the #explore tab (as explained above), to find and use trending hashtags in your related tweets.
- Partner with influencers – can help gain exposure and visibility for your hashtag, so if it fits with your brand and budget, give it a try.
- Don’t use all CAPS – avoid using hashtags that are all CAPS.
How to use hashtags on Facebook
Facebook started supporting hashtags in 2013 and although it’s been a number of years since then, Facebook users don’t use hashtags a lot.
They do have a page in their help center explaining what are hashtags and how to use them but there is not much information there.
What you should know about using hashtags on Facebook are:
The same rules apply like twitter i.e.
- no spaces
- if a hashtag does not exist will be created
- if you want to follow a hashtag just search for it using # in the search bar.
The recommended number of hashtags for a Facebook post is 1 or 2.
After 5 hashtags the interactions a post might receive start to decline.
When you create a post with a hashtag and share it with everyone (public), your post will appear when people search for the particular hashtag (provided that you allow people to follow you).
When used without exaggerations, hashtags are also a great way to increase your Facebook followers.
How to use hashtags on Instagram
Instagram is all about photos, videos, and hashtags. If you like using hashtags then create an account on Instagram and start tagging!
The recommended number of hashtags for an Instagram post is 11!
Interaction with a post jumps to high levels when 10+ hashtags are used in a post. The maximum number of hashtags allowed by Instagram is 30.
You can use numbers but no spaces or other special characters when tagging (like $ or %) and you can click on a hashtag to see other posts that share the same tag.
You can read the official Instagram guidelines here.
How to use hashtags on Pinterest
Hashtags are also supported on Pinterest.
You can use the # sign followed by letters without spaces to tag your pins. When you do so they become links and when clicked they show related pins.
The pins with the most interactions (likes, comments, re-pins) will show first when you search for a particular hashtag on Pinterest.
The recommended number of hashtags for a Pin is 6.
How to use hashtags on LinkedIn
Hashtags are back on Linkedin and supported. According to LinkedIn best practices you can use hashtags to:
- Establish your credibility and expertise
- Connect with other professionals who share the same interests
- Reach people who are more likely to be interested in your postings
- Start meaningful conversations with people sharing the same interests
To include hashtags in your Linkedin posts, follow one of the three methods below:
- Add your own hashtag by typing # and the words you want (no spaces)
- Select from the personalized hashtag suggestions
- Use the # Add hashtag feature.
The recommended number of hashtags for a Linkedin post is 3.
How to use hashtags on TikTok
Hashtags play a very important role on TikTok. While there is no limit on how many hashtags you can use per post, there is a limit of 300 characters you can use for your caption, and that includes your hashtags.
Best practices for using hashtags on TikTok
When using hashtags on TikTok, take into account the following tips:
- Use relevant hashtags – monitor popular posts and make note of hashtags used by other creators. Use them in your posts to increase the visibility of your content.
- Combine popular hashtags with branded hashtags – mixing both popular and brand hashtags in your post, helps your branded hashtags gain more exposure.
- Create branded hashtags and challenges – creating a hashtag challenge where other users create content and tag it with your branded hashtag is a great way to get more traction for your branded tags.
The recommended number of hashtags for TikTok is 5.
You can use a social media management tool to easily find trending hashtags on TikTok and other social media networks to use in your content.
How to use hashtags on YouTube
Hashtags are supported on YouTube too. You can use hashtags in your video titles and descriptions.
When you use hashtags as part of a video title, the first three appear above the title as clickable links.
To add a hashtag on a YouTube video, type # followed by the word(s) you want to use.
Unlike other social networks, use hashtags on YouTube with caution. Try to avoid using hashtags in your titles and use no more than two hashtags in your video descriptions.
You can learn more about YouTube hashtags in your YouTube SEO Guide.
The recommended number of hashtags for YouTube is 2.
Hashtags are easy to use and have many advantages to offer. In-proper use of hashtags can sometimes be considered a form of spam that’s why it’s important to follow the simple rules outlined above when using hashtags in your social media postings.