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How To Use Hashtags in Social Media: A Definitive Guide


Hashtags are common occurrences in the world of social media. Nearly every active user uses it. If you'd like to learn more, here's how to use hashtags in social media.

Whichever your preferred social media platform, learning how to use hashtags can boost your business’s social media engagement.

However, sticking with the #ThrowbackThursday types of posts on your Twitter account won’t get you far today. If you are unsure about which hashtag to use in your social media content or how to use it, this is the post for you.

Additionally, not all social media platforms are equal. Therefore, they all have different rules and uses.

So, how do hashtags work?

This post will teach everything you need to know about hashtags and how to use them on your social media platforms. You want to follow all the best practices mentioned below on how to use hashtags:

What are Hashtags in Social Media?

Karlie Kloss hashtag gif
What is the hashtag all about?

If you are an avid social media fanatic and internet enthusiast, you’ve probably bumped into the hashtag sign multiple times.

The hashtag is the pound (#) sign. You will also find it in a tic tac toe board.

With social media channels, hashtags are used to draw customers’ attention and organize and promote content. Hashtags got their start on Twitter, making it easier for online users to follow and contribute to conversations.

As of writing this, hashtags now play an integral role in almost all social media platforms today.

The best part is you also don’t need any special software to use them. Nor do you need coding experience or a degree to create a hashtag. You only need to put the pound (#) directly in front of the word/s you intend on turning into hashtags. As you do this, ensure you follow these simple rules:

  • Don’t include spaces within your words/phrases
  • No special characters
  • No punctuations

Another critical aspect to keep in mind is that you can only use capitalization where it matters for readability. For example,


Why Use Hashtags?

Knowing how to use hashtags is a critical aspect of any social media marketing strategy. It’s one of the best approaches for labeling and finding relevant social media updates that meet your preferences.

Studies of why you should use hashtags
Image Source: Smart Insights

When applied correctly, hashtags can help make your content more discoverable and allow you to find even more relevant content from other businesses and people.

Hashtags allow businesses to connect with and engage with their social media users with shared interests and themes. They will also help increase your overall traffic on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Simply incorporating hashtags in your social media content allows you to enjoy several benefits. That is why knowing how to use this amazing tool is fundamental to your business’s success on social media.

Below, you will find reasons why you should use hashtags in your social media marketing campaigns:

1. Get Found by Your Target Audience

Hashtags should be found by your target audience

Since hashtags allow businesses to categorize social media content, you can sort them by interest or topic, making your content more discoverable. This is mainly because people with interest in those topics are the ones who will be actively searching for them, finding your post in the process.

As a business, targeting your social media message to a specific audience has never been easier with the help of hashtags. You just have to ensure you are using relevant hashtags that your audience can use to find and engage with your message.

For instance, if you are looking to market to customers who’ve just had a baby, a hashtag like #newborn will resonate well with them. As a result, anyone searching the social network for conversations about newborns can easily discover your message and website.

2. Increase in Engagement

When you use hashtags, there will be increase in engagement
Image Source: Brand 24

Including hashtags (#) in your social media posts means you’ve started a conversation and are actively taking part in what transpires within that social media thread. Most importantly, hashtags help make your posts more visible on social media platforms. This enables interested customers and prospects to engage and interact with your product quickly.

When you use hashtags correctly, it will lead to greater engagement, thereby boosting your overall social engagement through comments, likes, shares, and new followers.

You will become even more visible to a broader audience when your hashtag falls into a broader category. Some of these people might not be current or active fans of your brand or products/services. However, they might be interested in checking out what you are offering.

This can help you get new followers and increase your current customers’ engagement with your posts.

3. Promote Your Business

One of the primary reasons why hashtags have become so popular on social media is their ability to help marketers create targeted campaigns. Essentially, hashtags provide you the ‘word-of-mouth’ kind of promotion.

Use hashtags to promote your business
Image Source: Twitter for Business

In other words, imagine you post a promotion on your social media account. Then it really resonates well with your followers who use the same hashtag on their accounts, and so on. You start to notice a pattern emerging.

Hashtags create great visibility for your marketing campaign and help you reach your target audience faster. By using relevant hashtags your audience is already following, you are essentially putting your business on the front line of a broader target audience.

Creating branded hashtags is also just as effective because they help your business drive leads and conversions, thereby increasing revenue.

4. Add Context to a Post

Some social media platforms like Twitter don’t offer you a ton of space to write captions and be creative. In fact, you have exactly 280 characters to work with.

Likewise, longer captions and context aren’t always the most effective on some platforms such as Instagram. The same applies to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and several other social media networks. Sometimes, less is more.

Add context to your hashtag in your post
Image Source: AdEspresso

The key to knowing how to use hashtags effectively depends on how creative you are with your words.

Hashtags provide you with an avenue to contextualize what message you want to share with your target audience. However, in this case, you won’t use valuable characters or write repetitive captions.

Hashtags Best Practices

Now that you know some of the benefits of using hashtags, how do you actually apply them in your marketing strategies?

Below are some of the best practices to use hashtags:

1. Keep It Simple and Relevant

When choosing a hashtag, it is always important to pick one that people are already searching for. Choose a memorable hashtag that your target audience won’t easily forget.

How do hashtags work? Keep it simple and relevant
#tbt = Throwback Thursday is one of the most popular hashtags.

Fortunately, there are tons of hashtags scattered all over the social media universe you can use.

Using long and difficult-to-pronounce hashtags probably won’t give you the results you were hoping for. Similarly, unclear, generic, or never-used hashtags won’t get you good results.

Therefore, it is crucial that you use short, precise, and simple hashtags that your audience can easily spell and pronounce.

Look for hashtags that give your audience a clear view of what your message is about. And the best way to do this is by analyzing the hashtags they’re already talking about. It’s the best strategy to find relevant and simple-to-use hashtags for your content and company.

2. Make Use of Trending Tags

Use hashtags that are trending
Seek the Top 10 hashtags and make use of them for higher exposure.

These are hashtags that have become insanely popular on social media platforms. These hashtags rank top of the “trending now” topics. Often, these hashtags are currently popular or most talked about at that moment.

Usually, hashtags are centered on major news topics worldwide. As such, you always want to be on the lookout. You may just find a trending hashtag that’s directly related to your business. You will want to engage and use that tag.

By using trending tags in your content updates, your messages could be seen by an even broader audience. More people will have access to your updates as opposed to just your followers and fans.

However, before using trending hashtags in your social media posts, you must ensure they actually add value to your conversation. Remember, if your post doesn’t add value, customers will likely ignore it.

But if you have truly informative and educative content, more people will re-share your post and hashtag, thereby increasing your brand awareness.

3. Keep Hashtags at an Optimal Number

Like keywords used in blog posts and articles, you cannot overdo your hashtag usage. It might only end up harming your messaging and delivery. It will leave an impression that you are attempting to spam your followers.

Therefore, it is always good practice to use a maximum of two hashtags per post.

Keep hashtags at a minimum

Additionally, it’s also always good practice to avoid using hashtags on every single post. Social media users are also wary of companies trying too hard to promote their products/services.

You may also consider using organizational tools to optimize your hashtag usage for even more engagement and a growing subscriber base.

4. Research Your Hashtags Before Using

Anyone who wants to know how to use hashtags must do a hashtag search on the best ones to use before actually using them.

Before you use hashtags, do a research
Image Source: Tailwind

After all, you can easily choose the wrong hashtag that doesn’t produce good business results. You also don’t want hashtags that your target audience might interpret differently. As such, it is always worth ensuring another brand isn’t using the same hashtag to promote their own products/services.

When you use hashtags properly, you will spark an online conversation that gets even more customers looking your way. It will increase your brand awareness and, consequently, sales. Therefore, before using a hashtag, you always need to research it to see if other people are already using it and their reason for using it.

Tweeting on negative hashtags might also not be the best route if you want your tweets to stand out. You can use the Twitter analytic tools to determine which hashtags you used previously and which ones worked. You will also know the ones that didn’t. Use this data to determine the hashtags that resonate well with your target audience and which ones don’t.

5. Analyze Hashtag Performance

Here’s where online tools can be especially effective at assisting you in analyzing your hashtag’s performance.

Analyze hashtags performance
Image Source: Pixlee

Undoubtedly, hashtags are powerful tools brands use to boost their marketing strategies on social media platforms. But to get the best results from your hashtag usage, you must perform an in-depth analysis of the most effective hashtags that work best for your content. And you can only do this by carefully and tactically selecting the tried and tested hashtags in your niche.

Remember, hashtag uses differ widely depending on the channel you are using as well. By following the best practices and analyzing your hashtags’ performances, you are basically churning out the non-performing hashtags and remaining with the performing ones.

The secret is always to keep yourself well informed of and abreast of any innovations and features that can boost your hashtag’s performance.

How to Use Hashtags on Each Social Media Network

By now, you know hashtags play a critical role in your social media marketing efforts. They give your company more exposure by spreading the word about your products/services to a massive audience.

We aim to share with you even more important information on how to use hashtags on different social media platforms. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Twitter

Use hashtags on twitter

The optimal number is one or two relevant hashtags per tweet, which can increase your engagement. Just remember not to go overboard with your hashtag usage.

We also recommend that you hashtag in-between words to avoid going past the 280-character space allocation. You can use hashtags on Twitter chats, promotional events, when forming conversational public threads, etc.

2. Facebook

Use hashtags on Facebook

It is also best to maintain between one or two hashtags per post on Facebook. More than that may make your brand seem unprofessional and likely annoy the people reading your post.

We also recommend using BiQ Keyword Intelligence to get even more relevant information for your business and audience. If you are a local business, this Keyword Intelligence tool will provide you with critical data on local keyword opportunities and hashtags the local people are already using.

Remember to choose the keywords with a high volume but lower competition. These provide more traffic to your website at a lower competition. The same is true for hashtags, too.

3. LinkedIn

Use hashtags on LinkedIn
Image Source: Social Media Examiner

On LinkedIn, you can use a combination of popular hashtags that will amplify your reach. This also increases your chances of getting discovered by LinkedIn members who follow or search the hashtag you’ve created.

You can also use hashtags on the platform to get your updates in front of other people outside your network to increase brand awareness.

4. YouTube

Use hashtags on Youtube

For the most part, you will generally find hashtags in the comment section of YouTube only. You can use hashtags to classify your content topic. You can also use keywords as hashtags. Simply organize your content with hashtags by placing them in your video’s title or description to create more interaction with it.

5. Instagram

Use hashtags on Instagram

Did you know that you can use up to 30 relevant hashtags per Instagram post? And the more relevant hashtags you use, the more leads and engagement you will get. But you probably won’t need to use that many hashtags in one post. Still, it’s good to know you have that option in the first place.

Place your hashtags together with your caption or at the comments section after polishing for maximum results. You can also use them on your posts for even more engagement.


Hopefully, you will feel more comfortable using hashtags to boost your social media marketing efforts by now. The secret to knowing how to use hashtags is to use them naturally. You don’t want your target audience to feel like you are forcing the hashtags down their throats.

Remember, hashtags are the spice to your social media marketing campaign. They are not the whole meal. Therefore, even a little will go a long way. They won’t save a poorly thought-out social media campaign.

About Winnie
Winnie is a copywriter and digital marketer in the vast world of SEO and marketing. She's as curious as she can be; constantly hunting for answers to her questions, never saying no to new experiences. When she's not spending her time typing up a storm, she is at home keeping up with her never-ending movie marathon & self-improvement books.