The Best Way To Use Hashtags Across All Your Social Media Accounts

It’s no longer just Twitter using the infamous hashtag: other social media sites have jumped on the bandwagon, too. But it’s often unclear who should use them and in which situations they should be taken advantage of. Unsurprisingly, many companies can truly benefit from the use of hashtags — if they use the right ones with the right frequency.

If you’re confused about what a hashtag actually is, it’s simply a word or series of words without spaces separating them that come after a hash sign and file what they’re posted on into certain categories. It was introduced to marketing a decade ago to simplify how companies organize their advertisements and increase the reach those advertisements created. Additionally, companies can monitor the performance of their posts with hashtags.

Attaching hashtags to the content you post makes it easier for your target audience to find you in organic search results on the social media site you’re using. When a potential customer looks up one of the hashtags you used, your post will come up in the results. Knowing this, it would be logical to conclude that more hashtags means more attention, but that’s not the case. In fact, attaching more than two hashtags to anything you post can decrease your engagement rate by 17%. That’s a figure that shouldn’t be brushed off.

Fortunately, using the right amount of hashtags can work in your company’s favour; corporate tweets that include hashtags receive around 50% more interaction than those without. For a more strategic approach, use popular hashtags that are relevant to what you’ve posted. Users looking solely to generate traffic will often attach several hashtags to the items they post, completely disregarding whether or not they fit the content of the post. This tactic has proven itself to be ineffective in the long run.

The best place to use hashtags is in tandem with a marketing campaign. You can encourage your followers to share your posts or use the same hashtag to draw attention to the marketing campaign, naturally increasing your audience engagement level. On Facebook and Twitter, keep the hashtag count to three or less per post. On Instagram, you can get away with up to ten as long as they match the theme of your post. Using too many hashtags or using the same hashtag in the majority of your posts can result in a “shadowban”, which prevents your content from being viewed by users who aren’t following your account.

If you’re not gaining much success with regular hashtags, try a branded hashtag. Create a phrase that accurately depicts your company’s name, products, or main message, stick a hash symbol in front of it, and you’ve got your very own branded hashtag. Use it wisely to avoid your account being labeled as spam or abuse.

Keep in mind that the branded hashtag strategy is best for content you post on Twitter and Instagram; hashtags on Facebook have little to no effect on how much your audience interacts with your posts. If you’re adamant about including hashtags in your Facebook content, don’t use more than two per post. Overdoing hashtags on a finicky social media platform like Facebook will hurt you more than it will help you.

Most young companies haven’t adapted to properly using hashtags. If you’re in that boat, don’t worry — several tools exist for the sole purpose of selecting and monitoring hashtags. The first on our list is Hashtagify, a program that tracks the success of the hashtags you use and suggests related hashtags that could increase your engagement rate. It’s free to use, so you can try it out knowing you have nothing to lose.

Tweetdeck is another free program that allows you to select a specific hashtag and track the activity occurring around it. With this nifty tool, you can look at the effects of many hashtags at the same time and compare the effectiveness of each to choose better hashtags in the future. Similarly, Keyhole collects the hashtags that include the keywords you specify and show you their popularity across several different social media sites.

Use RiteTag to select hashtags by their success and usage rates. To make the selection process easier, each hashtag is colour coded based on the relevance it has to the post you want to attach it to. Tweetreach, on the other hand, graphs hashtag information to show the user when the post has reached its engagement target.

With the right tools and hashtags, your company can see a faster-than-ever boost in engagement across all social media platforms.