One thing is for sure, if your social media posts are to be found and generate reach, the use of hashtags is a must. But in your day-to-day work, you might still have some questions unanswered, like “Which hashtags fit and make sense? Where do I place them in the post? And how many should be there anyway?”. Well, I’d like to bring some clarity:
Use hashtags that are relevant to your business and industry. The exclusive use of random hashtags such as #new or #product will not help your post to be read and increase your reach, rather heighten the chances of your post getting lost in the crowd. Conversely, if you use a hashtag that nobody uses, you will also find it difficult to achieve reach, unless you want to adopt a specific hashtag and make it your "branded hashtag" that you use continuously and that becomes your trademark. This can be the name of your company or a product, for example.
Hashtags can either be placed in the text - directly in front of a word - or at the end of the post. We advise using just as few hashtags within the post, as this disrupts the flow of reading. However, one or two single words with a hash are no problem.
On Instagram, for instance, up to 30 hashtags are possible. However, you should by no means understand this as a permit to take advantage of this. Experience has shown that posts with a kind of hashtag graveyard are perceived as spam by users. As usual, the motto is “quality instead quantity”, hence, around 3-5 relevant hashtags are ok and you shouldn’t exceed more than ten. Incidentally, this applies equally to all channels, since too many hashtags can have a negative effect on the reach.
Hashtag generators can make your search easier and work equally for all social media channels. An easy-to-use tool is the Likeometer where you can enter keywords, for which another 30 suitable hashtags will be displayed. Other useful tools are All Hashtag or Sistrix, to name a few.
Let's look at a few different platforms to show how hashtags work:
Every social network has its quirks and idiosyncrasies that affect the use of hashtags. Therefore, you should consider the following advice:
- Twitter is practically the inventor of the hashtag, or in other words, a tweet is not a tweet without hashtags. The short message service uses them to structure content and stimulate discussion. By entering a keyword in the search bar, content and accounts that are of particular interest to you can be found. Incidentally, Twitter itself recommends not using more than two hashtags, even if more are possible.
- Instagram encourages the use of hashtags through various features such as the ability to place hashtags in stories, a hashtag search, or reporting how many times you've liked posts with a particular hashtag in a week. In contrast to Twitter, you are welcome to use several keywords. Hootsuite recommends nine hashtags for optimal performance of your post; however, the following rule also applies here, especially for business accounts, meaning only use those that are relevant to your target group, your brand and your industry.
- Hashtags have long been superfluous on Facebook. Even studies have not confirmed any great benefit and even advised against them. But that has now changed fundamentally. The network is pushing their usage, pointing out suitable hashtags and even indicating how many posts there are already for the keyword you are using.
- Hashtags don't work much differently on LinkedIn than on other social media channels. However, they are not used here to draw attention to a specific current topic, but to mark a person or a company as an expert. As with other platforms, the keywords also help to search for specific topics.
As always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, which means we recommend following our tips, but do not stick to them dogmatically. Try it out and measure the results (reach) at regular intervals. This way you can find out what works best for you, your company or your brand.
By Daniela La Marca