What Are Hashtags & How to Use Them

Jackie L.

The ever elusive hashtag.  All businesses are pretty familiar with hashtags and probably use them in their social media content.  But what are hashtags and how do they really work?  

Posts on Instagram get almost 30% more interaction with one hashtag than a post with nothing. Instagram came out with a new update on how to effectively use these search words but everyone is still scratching their head about how to use them best.  Let’s look into what a hashtag is and 3 ways to help you utilize them effectively.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a metadata tag. In layman's terms, it’s a way to index topics and keywords on various social media.  Many social media platforms have their own way to use hashtags to help get your content seen. They are also a way for people to find your content in a search. If they are looking for website designers in Austin, you may want to use the hashtag #websitedesignaustin in your posts.

How to Use Hashtags

There are several ways to effectively use hashtags.  

Don’t Go Overboard

Even though the limit for hashtags is 30, refrain from using them all.  The phrase “Less is More” rings true here.  Plus, using a ton of hashtags in the effort to get more people to look at your content looks spammy.  And, we don’t want that.

On average, companies use around 11 hashtags.  You could even use less.  This will all depend on your content and marketing strategy.

Experiment...A LOT

We highly recommend experimenting with hashtags for your business accounts.  Play with the amount you use.  You can even experiment to see if not using any at all affects your reach or engagement.  Change them out to see which ones get you more engagement.  Rotate them so Instagram doesn’t flag your account as spam or worse… a bot.  You can track the performance of your hashtags with Sprout Social’s tips.

In the Caption or In the Comments?

This was a big question in the later half of the year.  First, it was put the hashtags in the comments so that your copy doesn’t look messy.  Then, Instagram came out and said to put them in the caption.  So….  where is best?  This is up to you!  Experiment to see which posts do better.  Try putting them in the caption for 2 weeks and record the numbers.  Then, try putting them in the comments for 2 weeks and compare your findings.  Whatever works best for YOU is what you should use.

What hashtags should I use?

There is a specific formula you should follow when creating hashtag groups (the groups you will rotate in and out).  Do not pick those with over 100 million uses.  While that number looks good, it means your post will be nothing but a drop in the ocean.  No one will see  your content.

Instead, use a combination of hashtags with various uses.  We recommend using some with high use, some with medium use, and some with low usage.  You also want to use those specific to your business, so your followers can use them and you can later repost their content that features your product or service!

Hashtags don’t have to be a pain in the you know what!  Once you find the perfect number to use with your own special formula of hashtags, you can guarantee to see more engagement and reach with your social media content!

Need local website design in Austin?  Send us a message today to see how we can help you!

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram