What is a hashtag?
Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by the "#" symbol and are used to categorize content on all the major social media platforms, but they are primarily used on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
When a user adds a hashtag to their social media post, it makes the word or phrase searchable by other users under that specific topic.
When searching for a hashtag, users are presented with a feed of all the posts tagged with that hashtag, allowing them to find and engage with content relevant to their interests.
What does the '#' mean?
The "#" (also known as the pound or hash sign) is a symbol that users can put in front of words or phrases to make those searchable, clickable, and categorizable. Once the "#" is added, it then becomes a hashtag.
How do hashtags work?
Discovery is a big part of what helps creators and small businesses grow on social media, and one of the oldest ways to discover content is through hashtags. Hashtags allow users to easily find and engage with content related to specific topics and categorize different messages and posts. Looking for outfit inspiration? Check the #OOTD hashtag. Need some home decor ideas? The #interiordesign hashtag has what you need.
How to create a hashtag?
Creating a hashtag on social media is easy; all you have to do is add a hashtag before any word or phrase. The most important thing is that there are no spaces between any of the words following the hashtag. For example, instead of typing # interior design, you would type #interiordesign with no spaces between the words.
Why use hashtags in your social media strategy?
Hashtags are a powerful tool for personal and business accounts, and understanding how to use them effectively can significantly enhance your social media marketing strategy. Here are some of the key reasons why you should use hashtags in your social media strategy:
- Improve the visibility of your content: Hashtags help your content to be more visible on social media. Users searching for a specific hashtag can find your content easily, even if they don't follow your account. Hashtags are a gateway to reaching new audiences, especially for a smaller creator.
- Boost audience engagement: Hashtags are a great way to reach an audience that's already interested in what you have to say. But it's essential that you use hashtags relevant to what you're posting, not just generic or broad terms (no #like4like, yes #planttips). The more specific you go, the more likely you'll yield better engagement from your target audience.
- Connect with your audience: Hashtags provide a powerful way to signal that you are part of your audience's community. By adopting the most relevant hashtags to your audience, you can start conversations and create authentic connections with your followers. This can also go a long way to helping establish your brand as an authority in your industry and increase customer loyalty.
How do I use hashtags on different social media platforms? And how many hashtags should I use on each?
Although you can use hashtags on any of the major social media platforms, each platform has its own set of best practices:
- Instagram: On Instagram, hashtags can be added to your bio, post captions, comments, and Stories, and they are used to categorize content and make it more discoverable. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but using that many can come across as spammy and can decrease engagement. Instead, aim to use between 5-10 hashtags per post. You can also add the hashtags as the post's first comment rather than adding it directly to your caption. Here's our complete guide on how to use hashtags on Instagram.
- TikTok: The use of hashtags on TikTok plays a crucial role in helping users categorize their content and increase their visibility on the platform. Users typically incorporate hashtags in the video caption. Stick to using 4-6 relevant hashtags per video, keeping a mix of trending and niche hashtags.
- Twitter: Tweets with relevant hashtags are 55% more likely to get retweeted. Hashtags can be added to your bio, tweets, quote tweets, and replies, and they are used to categorize tweets and to easily follow trending topics. For the best engagement, Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags.
- Facebook: Compared to the other social media platforms, hashtags are less prominent on Facebook, but they can still help in topic categorization. On Facebook, hashtags turn topics and phrases in your posts into clickable links on your personal timeline, Page, or groups. Stick to using 1-2 hashtags on Facebook, as research has shown that posts with fewer hashtags tend to perform better.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms as it serves as a space for professionals to share information, ideas, and expertise with their connections. And the hashtags you use on LinkedIn should reflect that. On LinkedIn, hashtags help categorize professional content and reach a wider audience beyond your direct connections. LinkedIn recommends between 1-3 hashtags per post for optimization.
Take advantage of Buffer's hashtag manager
Coming up with new hashtags for each post can be very time-consuming – but not if you use Buffer. With Buffer's hashtag manager, people can create and save groups of hashtags directly within the post. And if you prefer to keep your captions tidy and place hashtags in your first comment, the hashtag manager offers that option.
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