Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Social Media

hashtag strategies for social media

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Social media is an integral part of any modern business’s marketing plan. While social media platforms are excellent for socializing and connecting individuals, businesses can also benefit greatly from maintaining a presence on these sites. This is an especially important proposition for small and medium businesses, as this is a significant marketing endeavor that can be managed with minimal spending. By maintaining accounts across these various applications, you can maximize your opportunities to engage with and attract new customers.

There are initiatives that you can take to help you in this process, such as establishing a social media content calendar, which can help keep your post schedule structured, and provide a clear outlook for your social media marketing goals. Whatever your plan is, you should understand how to communicate effectively on social media, so that your content efforts are not in vain. Hashtags have become an incredibly popular feature that offer a way for posts to reach wider audiences, and your team should understand how to make the most of them.

While the various social media platforms will all incorporate hashtags in some way, the etiquette for using them can vary a bit between each platform. Therefore, we have created this guide on the best practices for using hashtags across these different social media sites to help you understand the best way to move forward.

Facebook Hashtags Best Practices

To begin, hashtags across most social platforms will follow a similar format. You will place your “#” symbol in front of a phrase and use no spaces or punctuation (for example #FacebookHashtags would be the correct form to use).

Facebook advises using hashtags for a few different purposes: if you want to join a conversation, or if you want to drive a conversation. So, for marketing purposes, if you are a local business looking to expand your regional clientele, you can post with hashtags referencing your location or nearby events, so that your local customer base has a better chance of interacting with them.

If you have a campaign or initiative that you would like to spread the word about, then you can introduce your own hashtags for the purpose of other users sharing it, thereby spreading your message, and providing more engagement with your brand. For example, Facebook notes how news stations will use hashtags to source questions for their broadcasts. Your business could use hashtags to address customer concerns, share tips or even allow them to enter sweepstakes.

Twitter Hashtags Best Practices

The trending topics feature on Twitter is a popular place where users go to join in on the popular discussion of the day. Since hashtags can be included as a trending topic, there is a lot of importance behind getting your posts seen under relevant hashtags. Twitter offers a few basic recommendations for formatting hashtags. They recommend capitalizing each word for readability, checking on spelling issues thoroughly before posting, and limiting your hashtags to only around 3 per tweet. Beyond this though, there are some creative decisions you can make to make your hashtagged posts more engaging.

On top of viewing the trends of the time and seeing which can be relevant for your business posts, you can also look to start your own hashtags, much like on Facebook. By making hashtags interactive, such as offering entries to sweepstakes for using them in a post, you can have other Twitter users help you spread your brand to their own social circles, providing invaluable marketing reach. With a new branded hashtag feature offered by Twitter, you can even add extra visual elements to your brand-specific hashtags.

Instagram Hashtags Best Practices

Instagram hashtags offer a little more variety than some other sites do. This is because there are rules and features for various sections of the site, including regular posts and stories. On regular posts, you can look to add up to 30 hashtags, while on Stories you can only add 10 per post. It should be noted that this is a maximum number and that you shouldn’t always look to overload your posts with hashtags. This can lead to your posts looking like spam and appearing in less relevant hashtag topics. It is a better idea to pick a smaller number of focused hashtags that will match the tone and content of your post.

On top of the usual word-based hashtags you can use with other platforms, Instagram also offers the option for emoji hashtags. This may be a bit more niche than standard phrase hashtags, but creative use could make them effective. For instance, you could hashtag a flag emoji if your product or service has a country of relevance. If you’re a food blogger or business, perhaps you could use a food emoji for your post.

One last important thing to note; you can hide captions on Instagram through your comments or by extending your post. After 3 lines of text, Instagram will hide your caption, so you can use dashes or other breaks to separate your hashtags from the main content of your post. You can also include hashtags in a comment on your post, leaving them out of the main caption.

LinkedIn Hashtags Best Practices

If you have tried to research LinkedIn and hashtags before, then you may have come across some advice suggesting that you should avoid hashtags in your LinkedIn posts. This is due to a time when the feature wasn’t as well supported as it is today. However, nowadays, hashtags are absolutely a relevant part of the LinkedIn experience, and you should know how to use them for maximum efficacy.

Like the previous platforms listed, you should include your “#” sign before your desired phrase, and make sure you don’t include any punctuation, spaces, or other symbols. Your hashtag should only revolve around a phrase, and LinkedIn actually helps you pick a hashtag by offering personalized hashtag suggestions for easy selection.

Their guidance, and a good idea for other platforms as well, is to consider using broad hashtag topics and more niche ones together, in order to appeal to a wider audience. So, if you want to respond to an ongoing event, you could use an event hashtag, while also including a hashtag for the broader implication of the post (like #marketing, #smallbusiness, or something along those lines). You should also not exceed more than 3 hashtags a post, and with the proper plan in place, you shouldn’t really need to.

Manage an effective social media marketing strategy with the help of the Business Intelligence App

Hootsuite alternativeUnderstanding the best practices for using hashtags on social media is just one aspect of the much larger picture of social media marketing. For an effective social media marketing strategy, your team needs to have the tools and expertise available to intelligently plan an approach and consistently execute it.

For this purpose, you should consider the assistance of the Business Intelligence App. Offering a broad suite of social media solutions that allow you to manage all of your social media channels, along with a dedicated social media manager who can help you strategize and even handle content creation and posting, you can put your business in a much better position to succeed with the Business Intelligence App.

You can get started and get to know our team by booking a session with us.

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