Social Media: How to use hashtags effectively

Social Media: How to use hashtags effectively
Labels with social media icons. Concept. 3d

Love them or hate them, hashtags are commonly used throughout all social media platforms and are a great tool to help get your social media posts seen by a wider audience online.

What Is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a type of metadata used on social media networks including Twitter which allows users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging into their content posts. The word/phrase begins with a hash mark (#) used within the content post/message to identify the keyword/topic of interest being discussed. By using hashtags, it makes it possible for others to easily find posts and messages with a specific theme, content or topic.

How Did Hashtags Gain their Popularity?

Hashtags first gained their popularity on Twitter but they soon became part of Facebook too. Now they seem to be used everywhere, in particular on Instagram where hashtags are key to Instagram success! On average, 125 million hashtags are shared globally on Twitter alone and due to the widespread use, hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014.

It’s understood that only 11% of users will see content posts organically which is why it’s important for any business to regularly publish and share content on a daily basis to ensure your content is being seen by as much of your audience as possible. This is where hashtags come in to play – hashtags help increase this by 4% allowing you to gain further impressions easily.

Although users are actively sharing hashtags on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean that they’re being used correctly. We have examined some of the biggest hashtag fails and explain why they just don’t work:

#Fail1 – Inappropriate Hashtags

As we know that hashtags increase your overall reach, we have commonly seen users adding hashtags to their content posts which are not relevant nor appropriate. For example, if your business sells clothing, it would not be appropriate to include a hashtag which is in reference to food. Although this food hashtag may be popular, it is not relevant to your content post and isn’t an effective method of encouraging users to interact with you as users will scroll past the post and dismiss it altogether.

#Fail2 – The Overtagger

Each social media platform has different recommendations to the number of hashtags to be used on their platform; this comes down to character limits and also engagement rates.


When publishing content, it’s the content itself that needs to have an impact on your audience; not the hashtags! Your content should do the talking whilst your hashtags should categorise the post. It’s important to stick to the recommended limits of each profile to gain maximum engagement and interaction.

#Fail3 – TheLongHashtagsThatMakeNoSense

This is by far one of the most frustrating types of hashtag fail that is seen on various different social media platforms. It’s often more common on personal profiles but this doesn’t mean that businesses are exempt from doing this on their profiles. Having a long string of words as a tag might seem amusing but it’s more often just confusing and off-putting. By the time your audience have taken the time to work out what the hashtag reads, they could have been on your website making a purchase.

#Fail4 – The Inconsistent Branded Hashtags

Hashtags are definitely an element of Social Media Marketing where Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is effective and works well. If you’re using hashtags for your brand’s social media content, make sure you always use the same one. This can help your customers join in the conversation online, as well as engage with one another. In addition, it allows your brand to build a portfolio of their content and when users search for this hashtag, your content will appear. So make sure you share your branded hashtag with your team to ensure all members of your team are using and sharing the same one.

Which Hashtags Should Your Business Use?

Depending on the topic you’re talking about at that specific moment in time, will determine which hashtags are relevant and appropriate to use on your content post.

Top Hashtags: These are hashtags which are generated based on your keyword. These hashtags may be different to the topic of the keyword but will be very popular and fall within the range of your keyword topic.

Similar Hashtags: These hashtags are based on your keyword and show more examples of similar hashtags which could be used.

Competitors and Influencers

In order to ensure you’re using the best and most appropriate hashtags for your business, spend some time looking at competitors within your market as well as top industry influencers. By using hashtags that they’re using ensures that they are popular and relevant; in addition, this also helps encourage users back to your page.

Now that you know which hashtags to use and when, it’s time to grow your brand online via social media. Contact our specialist team TODAY to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals online – 0115 727 0038.