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How to Use Hashtags in Social Media Campaigns

A hashtag is a word or phrase that follows the pound sign. Learn best practices for using hashtags across social media platforms.

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What does hashtag mean? What is a hashtag? As the use of the # symbol changes, so too must its definition.

Historically, # designated ordinal numbers and was also known as a pound sign, but social media platforms have added more uses.

Now, you are more likely to see that symbol referred to as a hashtag.

What are hashtags?

A hashtag is a word or a keyword phrase that follows the # symbol that is typically used on social media platforms as a form of metadata tagging.

They let individuals or businesses emphasize words or phrases as well as track and find different topics.

How hashtags can improve your social media strategy

Hashtagging on social media will help people find your post when they search for a particular hashtag or a keyword that you use as a hashtag.

This means that the impressions on your posts won't necessarily be limited to your followers but also to anyone who is searching for the topic you've posted about.

Social media tags draw people to your posts and encourage interaction.

Hashtags 101

When you are using a phrase as a hashtag, you begin with the hashtag symbol (#) and spell the phrase out without spaces. For example, #HashtagNoSpaces. Your hashtag cannot include punctuation or symbols, but it can include numerals.

Place your hashtag anywhere you like in your social media comment or post, beginning, middle, or end. The hashtag enables people who do not follow you (yet) to find your content.

It is easy to put a hashtag in front of a keyword phrase, but that isn’t all you need to do when you are trying to get people to find your page through your hashtags.

Hashtags only make a difference in personal branding for social media marketing when they are used correctly. Here are some tips.

Keep it short and sweet

Don’t use a lot of words in one tag. Keep hashtags short and memorable. #ShareACoke is short and easy to understand. #Susanboylealbumparty for the release of a Susan Boyle album in 2012 proved confusing and unsearchable.

Make your accounts public

By making your accounts public, you increase the visibility of your posts. Posts from a private account can typically only be seen by that account's followers. This means that you are losing out on engagements from those who don't follow you.

Use relevant hashtags

Don’t use hashtags that are obscure or too clever. Remember, people search for your hashtag before they find your content. #FoodieVibes might be a perfect description of your page, but if it doesn't have a lot of searches, it might not be worth the character space it takes up.

Instead, use hashtags that balance being detailed and specific without being obscure. For instance, #WisconsinStateFair is searchable, but #WisconsinStateFairOctober5 is too specific. And don’t feel like you have to insert hashtags into every post. Use them when they will stimulate conversation or attract traffic.

Find popular hashtags

One way to find effective and popular hashtags for creating social media posts is to research the influencers in your niche.

In any given niche, influencers are the voices most listened to and most trusted. For example, famous celebrities and high-volume bloggers.

A terrific tool for identifying influencers is BuzzSumo. You can use Buzzsumo to find the top bloggers, content creators, publishers, and writers in your niche. Follow these top influencers and check out the hashtags they regularly use to tap relevant keyword trends.

Once you identify the influencers you want to follow on social media posting, you can use an influencer tracker tool to keep up with the social media channels they use and posts that are relevant to your own brand.

There are other tools for narrowing down information about hashtags. gives you real-time data on the performance of influencer hashtags.

Use hashtags in moderation

Don’t get carried away by adding hashtags. Too many hashtags will create a visually unappealing post and might make viewers think it's spam.

The number of hashtags you can use depends on the platform.

Know how hashtags work on each platform

Every platform is just a little different when it comes to the optimal use of hashtags. To get the most out of a social media post, knowing the best practices for using hashtags effectively on each platform will increase your chances of success.


To confirm that a hashtag works and is popular on Facebook, search for the hashtag (don’t forget the symbol) in the search bar. The results will show how many people are talking about it.

One way to extend your reach is to go back to your top-performing Facebook posts and add new hashtags. This way, you can use old content to reach new readers.


Instagram uses hashtags in its search algorithms. You can use as many as 30 hashtags on your Instagram posts, but you should keep them relevant to your post and industry.

Use the search box to discover which hashtags your competitors are using with their posts. Since multiple hashtags are acceptable on Instagram, do some A/B testing to see which hashtags work best.


Hashtags aren’t as common on LinkedIn as they are on other social media platforms, but they work the same way. Using hashtags on LinkedIn can get your content in front of people who are not in your contacts list.

Add hashtags at the foot of new content, and they will be indexed for search. LinkedIn does not permit clickable hashtags in your profile, but you can rely on searchable hashtags on your page.


Pinterest puts posts with hashtags in chronological order. Adding a hashtag can at least temporarily put your post at the top of the list.

On Pinterest, broad search terms don’t do a lot of good. Make sure your hashtags are specific to your content, especially if you use Pinterest for Business.


Keeping the number of hashtags to just 1 or 2 increases the chances that Twitter users will retweet. This results in even more engagement.

Keep accessibility in mind

While it is not required to capitalize each word in a hashtag, doing so is friendlier for screen readers. People with dyslexia or other cognitive disabilities can also benefit from this formatting.

Why should I use hashtags?

Writing hashtags takes a lot of effort, but the payoffs are worth the work.

In this section, we will discuss 5 ways hashtags can benefit your social media marketing.

Improves engagement

Hashtags boost engagement by driving traffic to your social media pages. This doesn’t just create a larger audience, it also builds a community around your brand. Hashtags encourage customers to connect with each other as well as with your business.

Here are 3 ways to boost social engagement with hashtags.

  • Use hashtags that align with your brand. Use a play on words or a creative pun that relates back to your company slogan or your brand message in a way that your customers will engage with and enjoy. These hashtags extend the reach of your brand.
  • Include a CTA. Get your audience involved. Let them show their own images and stories online with the corresponding hashtag. This is one way to go viral.
  • Use trending and popular hashtags. Sometimes the best hashtags already exist on pages that are not your own.

Makes it easier to find your posts

Trending hashtags boost visibility. Popular hashtags often emerge from news stories. When you see a news story that relates to your brand, increase engagement with your content by including it in your hashtag.

Using a trending hashtag greatly increases your reach. Many more people will see your content because they are searching for the topic of your hashtag. You can find a digital ads tool that automates the use of trending hashtags on your site.

Raises brand awareness

Brand hashtags group content under your brand name in an easily discoverable way. A #YourBrand hashtag with every post points social media users to all of your posts with a single search. The most effective brand hashtags integrate your slogan. For example, Nike’s #JustDoIt.

Potential to expand your audience

Adding hashtags to your posts is one of the easiest ways to grow your audience. Just putting a profile on your social media page is a great way to get found on search.

For instance, a cafe in Coogee, Australia added the hashtag #SydneyBrunch. This hashtag expanded its reach from tiny Coogee to metropolitan Sydney and drew in daytrippers looking for a great place to go to brunch.

Gives viewers a frame of reference

Hashtags are especially important on Instagram. They provide a frame of reference for viewers of Instagram photos and a frame of reference for the Instagram selection algorithm itself.

#Success with hashtags

Hashtags are an incredibly useful tool for promoting your social media posts to a larger but still targeted audience when you use them correctly.

Each platform has its own stipulations and best practices for you to follow, but whether you are a small, medium, or large business, proper hashtagging can have a positive impact on your business.

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