We pretty much use hashtags every time we want to post something on social media in order to make our content more discoverable. We also use it to search for content and engage with others. But how did hashtags start, why do we need them and are they used the same way across all social platforms?
Well, to start off, hashtags started on Twitter and then became common on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and many other platforms. How hashtags are used differ from one social media platform to another and should be used correctly in order to be efficient. Here’s how:
- If you ever wondered, Facebook posts without hashtags perform better than Facebook posts with hashtags. Don’t get us wrong, hashtags on Facebook increase your access worldwide but too many hashtags decrease engagement, diminishing the number of likes. An article showed the below: Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
- Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags averaged 416 interactions
- Posts with 6 to 10 hashtags averaged 307 interactions
- Posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged 188 interactions
- Hashtags are a great way to cross-promote webinars or live events across your other social networks, monitoring the conversations on Facebook as well as other social channels under one key term.
- Use easy and relevant keywords to your business and the audience you are trying to target. (If you are a local business, use the name of your city too).
- Don’t put #hashtags in the middle of your #sentence. It makes #reading the sentence #annoying. You follow? It’s better to add the hashtags at the bottom of your caption.
- Make sure you check the hashtags to see what the current conversation is around that hashtag on Facebook.
- Hashtags on Instagram help in building your community and exposure.
- The maximum number of hashtags you can use on Instagram per post is 30.
- A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
- 11+ hashtags on Instagram increase interactions on posts.
- Always research both your audience and your competitors to find out which hashtags and keywords they are searching for and using in order to fit the content that you are publishing and to gain the most engagement.
- Avoid using the most popular Instagram hashtags (#love, #happy, #dog) and try using the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community to reach a more specific audience.
- Hashtags on Twitter help in sorting topics into categories to revisit later.
- A Twitter hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream.
- Always check if your hashtag is new and if it is not, then pick something that isn’t frequently used.
- Pick industry or brand keywords.
- Be careful with sentiments.
- Don’t hijack hashtags for sensitive situations as it can lead to bad consequences.
- Tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement than tweets without. However, when you use more than 2 hashtags, engagement drops by an average of 17%.
However, one should take the below points into consideration:
- Overusing hashtags can be interpreted as spam leading to a decrease in your audience.
- Hashtags can be ignored if they do not follow the correct principles.
Knowing how to use hashtags on each social media platform and knowing their benefits and drawbacks will ensure there is consistency in your brand message and won’t confuse your audience.