5 things you need to know about hashtags

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags are a great way to connect social media posts to specific topics, events, themes, or conversations. Hashtags were started on Twitter in 2007, but are now effective on most social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

#hashtags 101

#tag 101

  • If your accounts are not public, your content can not be seen by non-followers via hashtags.
  • Keep it simple – keeping your hashtags short and simple will give them a better chance of discovery.
  • Keep them relevant to your topic – choose hashtags that match your content topic and business.
  • Limit the number of hashtags you use – more isn’t always better! Too many hashtags can lose effectiveness and look spammy (see below for our recommended number per platform).
  • Put multiple hashtags at the end of your content, rather than incorporate them into your text. This is to help screen readers used by people with vision impairment or reading difficulties and thus means your content is more accessible.
  • Don’t use the same hashtag for every post (mostly…) – ultimately, you want your content to show up in different feeds, so changing your hashtags helps expand your reach. However, if there is a hashtag you have curated for a particular feed, then you can use it across multiple posts to link them together.
  • Create your own brand hashtag – this is an effective way to share your brand with people, but remember to keep it simple!
  • Hashtags won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation, or symbols.
  • Make sure you do your hashtag research to prevent damage to your brand or business, as well as reach as many feeds as possible.

How hashtags help your business

Hashtags are a great way to connect your business to your target audience by promoting products or services using relevant words or short phrases. 

Effective hashtags can:

  • Increase engagement with your followers
  • Build brand awareness with branded hashtags
  • Add context to a social media post
  • Help your target audience find you
  • Disclose sponsored partnerships
  • and more

How do you find hashtags to use

Hashtags are a great way to organise and share information in a short, relatable and memorable way. Hashtags should be chosen based on their relevance to the content you share. Certain hashtags might be more popular than others, so if your posts are not getting engagement, consider re-evaluating your hashtags.

To find out if your hashtags are doing their job, we recommend looking into software for tracking hashtag use. However, these (such as RiteTag) can be expensive for a small business.

A cost-effective way to research trending hashtags is to type them into the search bar on your social media platform like Instagram and see what the feed is like. If it comes up with other content you would like your post to appear with, you can then view how many times that hashtag was used. Usage between 20,000 to 100,000 is a good range to look for. Anything under that is underused, and anything over 100,000 is overused and your posts may be lost in the feeds.

You may also need to consider the types of images that come up with particular hashtags and whether those fit your brand. For example, if you own a swimsuit shop, some feeds for bathers or bikinis might not be suitable if they are filled with selfies of half-naked women.

how many hashtags is too many?

How many hashtags should you use?

This may shock most small business owners as we are used to seeing A LOT of hashtags. Instagram does allow you to use up to 30, however, this doesn’t mean you should! Overdoing the hashtags is generally frowned upon and classed as spammy. Below is a list of platforms and the recommended number of hashtags you should use.

  • Instagram (3-5 per post)
  • Facebook (2-3 per post)
  • LinkedIn (1-5 per post)
  • Twitter (1-2 per post)
  • YouTube (3-5 per post)
  • Pinterest (2-5 per post)
  • TikTok (3-5 per post)