#TBT, #selfie, #adulting, #tgif, #yolo
Social media isn’t going anywhere, but it’s growing. Understanding and utilizing social media is how you can stay ahead of the competition and grow your audience. Each social app is different, but one thing that crosses all platforms is the hashtag.
This post will look at a hashtag used across different platforms and best practices to get the best out of using them.
A hashtag is a way to categorize topics– a system of organization across all data on the app. You use them to tag your post data appropriately, potentially reaching beyond your original content.
What Is A Hashtag and Why Does It Matter?
Most people know what a hashtag is. But did you know that its use can vary from app to app? And how an app had used a hashtag when it first started can be utterly different from its use now?
Think of the hashtag as a technology tool to reach your audience and prospects. Social media apps are trying to up their game by optimizing tools to make people feel more connected. Apps like Instagram and LinkedIn have created a way to follow hashtags on topics they like.
Staying up to date with social media best practices allows you to use them as effectively as possible for your business.
Using a Hashtag on Facebook
First up… Facebook:
Lately, Facebook has been sticking to what it knows. Fortunately for most users, this means that hashtag utilization and optimization are the same as for the last couple of years. Here are some best practices to use a hashtag on Facebook:
Best Practices for Facebook:
Facebook has come a long way since its origin in 2004. Here are some best practices in using a hashtag to get the most out of your post:
- Facebook hashtags aren’t as efficient as Instagram or Twitter.
Facebook, in recent years, has backed away from using a hashtag and has focused more on “Boosting” events and posts. Still, make sure to use them since they’re free; but if you’re looking for more engagement, don’t look here.
- Too many hashtags can come across as spammy.
When writing a caption, you want to get your message across as few words as possible. The same should go with hashtags on Facebook. Too many hashtags can make your brand look like a “Spam Account.”
- One hashtag should be enough for posting on Facebook.
That’s right! Only one! You don’t want to look like a spam account. Choose one or two hashtags that make the most sense for your post.
Overall, for Facebook, it is better safe than sorry to add a hashtag. You may not see a spike in engagement, but a slight increase is worth adding an extra step.
Using a Hashtag on Instagram:
Instagram has been a social media platform actively using the hashtag, making it a critical part of engagement and reach for businesses. Instagram has also changed some of the hashtag’s utilization on its platform as of Fall 2021. The hashtag utilization has changed because they added different venues. Just on Instagram alone, there are Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels.
Ways that you can use hashtags on Instagram are:
- Posts + Stories + Reels… oh my!
Most people know how to use hashtags on Instagram posts. But some helpful information is that people can also use them on Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels. When you use a hashtag on Instagram Story, it will send you to the Explore Page of that word or phrase, and you will see all of the other posts with that hashtags, but not other Instagram Stories.
Instagram Reels are the newest addition to the Instagram app. Reels are the same concept as TikTok (discussed later): a continuous stream of video content ranging from 5 seconds to 3 minutes. You can use hashtags like how you use them on Instagram posts; when a user presses on the hashtag in the video’s caption– it takes them to the hashtag Explore Page.
Tip: You can only use 30 hashtags on an Instagram post and ten on an Instagram story.
- Follow + Search hashtags.
If you search for a hashtag, you will see an Explore Page of posts with that word or phrase in the caption. You will see posts with that hashtag in your feed. If you want to stay on top of that hashtag, you can follow it. This means that people can follow your hashtags or hashtags relevant to your brand.
Instagram Best Practices
As one of the most popular social media apps and many people promote their business, hashtags are critical for promoting your content. But what are the best ways to get engagement?
Here are a few helpful tips:
- The secret formula to Instagram hashtags = 1-2 unique hashtags + 1-2 popular hashtags.
Think of the hashtag explore page like how Google search works. Your goal as a business is to make it to the top of the Explore page. If you use too many popular hashtags (i.e., #tbt or #love), you will struggle with getting near the top of the page). But, if you use hashtags that are too hyperspecific, there may not be many people looking for it.
- Check the hashtags that your followers use and follow.
This note is an addition to the last tip. Now, on Instagram, you can see what hashtags they are following along with the people they are following. It would be best practice to go through your followers and inquire which hashtags they are following and if they make sense for your brand, use them.
- Stay relevant + take part in memes.
While promoting your business, you can participate in social media culture. Most prospects and customers would prefer it. Staying relevant makes customers feel like you are one of them, and you listen to them. Always stay appropriate, but have fun!
Here is an example of a VSG Instagram post. Notice that there is a mix of broad and local hashtags.
Let’s say you are a user viewing this post. If you were interested in knowing more about what is happening in Tacoma, you could click on the #tacomalocal hashtag. Once you press it, you will see this page:
A user can now follow #tacomalocal and see these posts on their feed.
A business using #tacomalocal will be competing with other accounts using this hashtag.
Using a Hashtag on LinkedIn:
If there is any social media platform you use hashtags for, LinkedIn is it. LinkedIn is a social media platform based on business marketing and strategy. A user can post their resume and what they are doing throughout their career. A company can use LinkedIn to promote it’s business and network with other companies on the app. And if your company is struggling to have a following on LinkedIn, the most significant way to fix it is through posting captions with hashtags. But, LinkedIn has added new features to utilize the hashtag in 2021.
Here is how you can use hashtags on LinkedIn:
- Follow + Search hashtags.
Just like Instagram, LinkedIn allows you to follow and search hashtags. But, unlike Instagram, LinkedIn is strictly business. Hashtags have way more impact because users and hashtags are all you can follow on LinkedIn.
- Status update
A status update is how you post on LinkedIn. When you go to an event, have a new business opportunity, or any reason to post on LinkedIn, always use at least one hashtag.
- On Your LinkedIn article
If your business is actively promoting blogs or articles, you can post them along with a hashtag. You can upload the document and in the caption, add a hashtag.
- Your Profile
When you set up your LinkedIn account, you can add hashtags that you would like to follow and attach to your profile. While you can always go back and change them, try and think carefully about your brand and your business.
LinkedIn Best Practices:
Since hashtags are critical for LinkedIn engagement, it is essential to stay on top of the best ways to use them. Here are some helpful tips:
- Use local hashtags
If your company is looking for clients in a specific area or wants to be more known in your area, use your city as a hashtag. Most local businesses and business owners follow that hashtag to stay in the know of local news, and you should use this too.
- Use popular hashtags
Since you can only follow users and hashtags on LinkedIn, only using hyperspecific hashtags will cause your engagement below. Always make sure the hashtags you use are relevant, but using popular hashtags can get you more reach to prospective customers that would’ve been outside your natural scope.
- Use case sensitivity to your advantage
Like Instagram, a feed comes up on your search bar when searching for a hashtag. It is hard to get to the top of that list without being a major corporation. We suggest changing the capitalization if you are using a viral hashtag. People will still be tracking and following it, but you won’t have as hard of a battle to try and get to the top of the feed.
Here is a #VSG example of using hashtags on LinkedIn. VSG uses the same hashtags across platforms to stay uniform. In this post, we used the hashtag #Tacomalocal.
Now, if a user were to click on that hashtag on LinkedIn, this is the feed that they would see:
This post is an example of how using a hashtag can show ROI in real-time. Notice that VSG is at the top of the page! Any user that sees this hashtag will see VSG first.
Using a Hashtag on TikTok:
Tiktok is the newest social media platform and may also be the most complicated. Tiktok is a continuous stream of videos (like Instagram Reels) that can last from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
Unsure how to best utilize TikTok for your business? [MAYBE?] check out this blog!
Taking the complexities out of this topic, using the hashtag on this platform is similar to the others mentioned– you use them in the captions of your social post, but the videos take precedence. If there were a scale range of importance for hashtags across social platforms, TikTok would be right in the middle. The most popular hashtag is #fyp which is how you get onto people’s “For You” pages. Here are some other ways to use hashtags on TikTok:
- People like TikTok, and Tiktok shows them other videos like the one that was like + they use hashtags to help do that.
- Can follow hashtags
TikTok Best Practices:
While TikTok may be similar to other apps with usage, there are some ways that it is different for optimization.
- The more, the merrier
Unlike the other apps, it is best practice to use as many hashtags as possible– that way, you can try and reach as many “for you” pages as possible. The app does not utilize captions as heavily as the others– so you don’t have to worry about how clunky it looks.
Here are some ways that it is like other apps when it comes to best usage:
- Use industry hashtags
- Mix popular hashtags with unpopular ones
Using a Hashtag on Twitter:
Twitter is an app like LinkedIn, where it heavily relies on captions and, therefore, hashtags. There is also a word limit for captions, making it tricky to get everything you want to say written under 140 words. Here are the ways that you can use hashtags on Twitter.
Like a search engine, you can search hashtags, and a feed of posts with that hashtag will appear.
- CanNOT follow hashtags
Unlike other social media apps, you cannot follow other hashtags. Instead of following hashtags, you can follow topics. These topics are vague words and specific hashtags sorted through the categories.
Twitter Best Practices:
Here are some best practices to use Twitter for your business:
The Small Business Blog found that,
- Using hashtags with your tweets can increase their engagement by 100% for the individual and 50% if you have a brand. Based on research from Twitter, ads that don’t include hashtags get 23% more engagement.
Even though you cannot follow hashtags on Twitter, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t critical for engagement. But since there is a word limit, you need to be considerate when choosing hashtags.
Using a Hashtag on YouTube:
Last but not least, there is YouTube. YouTube is the app that you have to worry the least about with hashtags. Viewers typically do not focus on captions or hashtags. But, if you remember anything about this blog, it is always to use a hashtag. Here are the different ways to use hashtags on YouTube:
- Video description
The video description is the “caption” of your video. There is no word limit, and when you press on a hashtag, you will see an explore page of other similar videos.
- Users can search hashtags.
In addition to putting hashtags in your video description, people can search hashtags to find your videos.
YouTube Best Practices:
Even though YouTube hashtags aren’t that important, any type of engagement is worth pursuing. Here are the best tips we have for YouTube:
- Use relevant hashtags
- 3-5 Hashtags
- Use all lowercase
Unlike LinkedIn, using capital letters doesn’t work in your favor since there isn’t an emphasis on searching and finding hashtags, so there is not a lot of feed to comb through and fight for space over. So because YouTube hashtags are case sensitive, you will be losing engagement if you spell your term wrong.
Social media is ever-changing. These apps will likely update again in two years, and we will have to write another blog utilizing the new updates. These updates may seem discouraging, but continuously stay on top of this knowledge!
Need some extra guidance on social media? VSG offers social consulting services! Contact us today.