#Engagement: How using hashtags can make or break your social strategy

If you've been using social media for a while (especially platforms like Twitter and Instagram), you'll know that hashtags are a a bit of a big deal.

Why? They can help new customers find you on social, and can also increase engagement among your social audience. For example, tweets with hashtags have double the engagement rates than those without, and 55% more retweets.

However, if you get it wrong, your hashtags will fall flat and could even hinder your engagement. So try these pro tips to make sure your social strategy is #winning.

Which types of hashtags should you use?

You’ve probably noticed that hashtags can be incredibly specific (#maplebaconburger) or a catch-all for many different types of posts (#food). As a general rule, make your hashtags specific to your post and your audience, and include community-generated hashtags when applicable (#instagood, #fromwhereistand etc.). Steer clear of generic hashtags, as you’re likely to get lost among the sea of other people using the same one.

How many hashtags should I use?

The number of hashtags you use depends on the social platform you’re using. On Instagram, interactions are highest on posts with 11 or more hashtags, so you can comfortably experiment with lots of different options to see what works best for your brand.

On Twitter, however, tweets with more than two hashtags signal a drop-off in engagement, so use them sparingly.

Facebook posts without hashtags actually perform best, so avoid them unless you're using a specific hashtag for a marketing campaign.

When to use brand hashtags

Branded hashtags tend to work well when they accompany events like product launches, competitions, sponsored events and so on. When choosing a hashtag for a campaign, remember to keep it short and relevant to your brand, and check that it isn’t already widely used by someone or something else.

Your brand hashtag doesn’t have to directly mention your business name, either. Some of the most successful hashtags (#LikeAGirl by Always, for example) don’t mention a brand at all, so don’t be afraid to get creative when coming up with ideas.

How to find trending and relevant hashtags

There are many tools online to help you find popular and relevant hashtags:

  • Hashtagify.me – great for discovering popular and related hashtags based on any starting hashtag
  • RiteTag – helpful for finding which hashtags you have chosen are most likely likely to be effective in getting your post noticed
  • Trendsmap – useful for discovering which hashtags are trending on Twitter in your area
  • Hashtracking – allows you to track the popularity of your brand or campaign hashtag

How to tailor your hashtags to different social platforms

Aside from the number of hashtags you use, you should also tailor hashtag type to the social platform you’re using. Hashtags on Instagram tend to refer to the content of the photo or video. On Twitter, however, hashtags generally refer more to events or topics of discussion. That’s also the case for Facebook, but keep in mind that hashtags there should be used sparingly.

Hashtags on LinkedIn posts can be clicked on to find other posts using the same hashtag – so they can be useful for surfacing your content, but should only be used minimally and when highly relevant.

 

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