How to use hashtags

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Harness the power of hashtags: reach your ideal audience on social media

While most people know what hashtags are, they don’t know how to use them well. Hashtags help social media users find content they're interested in and connect with other people who like the same things. When your business uses a hashtag, you need to make sure is relevant to the content you’re posting or you’ll annoy people rather than leaving a positive impression.

Our top tips

Be specific

Always choose a quality audience over quantity. The more specific your hashtag is, the more targeted the audience will be, which usually results in better engagement. For example if you are a dog walker, instead of using #petlover, which is too broad, use #doglover to focus on your target customer. Add your location.

Do your research

While it’s great to capitalise on popular hashtags, you should keep in mind that it’s more likely your content will get lost in the crowd. Try finding hashtags that are specific to your industry and consistent with your brand. You can do this by looking at similar posts or using the search bar on each social network, making sure to look at the content associated with each hashtag.

Don’t use too many

A lot of hashtags makes your posts seem spammy and desperate, and you tend to get less engagement. X posts with just one hashtag have the most engagement, and it starts to drop when you use more than two. Similarly, keep it to one or two hashtags on Facebook. Instagram is a bit different and studies on the optimum number of hashtags give varied results. We would suggest using 2-5 relevant hashtags.

Consider each social network

Hashtags should be tailored to the specific social network you’re posting on. On Instagram they are used mostly to describe the content, while on X, they should focus on the topic of conversation, trend or a group you want to engage with. Unlike Instagram and X, most Facebook users have private profiles and so any hashtags they use are only discoverable by the people they know. Most public hashtags on Facebook belong to influencers or brands.

Don’t use spaces or punctuation

A hashtag ends with the first punctuation mark or space, so don’t use either in the middle of a hashtag. For example, typing #what’sfordinner creates the hashtag #what, so instead of coming up in searches for delicious food, your post will be shown to people looking for odd or funny things.

Avoid a hashtag fail

We won’t go into too much detail but if you google ‘hashtag fails’ you’ll get the point. Suffice to say when you put words together with no space, it can appear you mean something completely different! Always consider alternative meanings for words and acronyms. You may want to check Urban Dictionary, but beware, the content can be very graphic.

Not sure what to post?

We've made it easy for you with a list of 30 ideas that will add variety to your social media posts.

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