What is a hashtag and how can it help your engagement?
A hashtag is a clickable link to a conversation or forum taking place on social media. By adding the “#” to the beginning of a group of text or emojis, a social media user can expose their brand to a far wider audience than would be possible if only posting to their following.
Using hashtags, users can make their posts searchable via these online forums and conversations which is invaluable for increasing engagement.
With a little guidance on the proper use of hashtags, they can be an incredibly powerful boost to your brand’s online presence. By adding relevant times, places, products and services to your post in the form of a hashtag you can widen your net to increase your engagement.
People who do not necessarily follow you (yet) follow hashtags, so it’s worth it to put the time and research in. To harness their power properly and increase your exposure to your target audience, below you’ll find a few tips on how to use hashtags on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Instagram – Quantity & Placement
Although the hashtag was born on Twitter, it was Instagram who adopted it the hardest.
While Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags on its posts, that still doesn’t mean you should use them all. The generally accepted standard is to use between 5-9 to start, and fine-tune.
Many social media platforms can mark your post as spam if you use too many hashtags. If the net is too wide, your post might be flagged as spam because it’s not relevant to specific users.
Additionally, it may be necessary to experiment with placing your hashtags either “hidden” in your caption and only visible when users hit “see more” on your post, revealing hashtags under the main caption. Alternatively, it may yield better results posting hashtags in the first comment of your feed post.
In a recent study, SocialInsider examined 650,000 Instagram posts to determine how hashtag use affected post performance they concluded the approaches outlined below reached the best engagement:
Profiles Under 5k Followers – 6 hashtags hidden in caption
Profiles 5k-10k Followers – 5 hashtags in first comment
Profiles 10k-50k Followers – 2 hidden in caption
Profiles 50k-100k Followers – 8 hidden in caption
Profiles 100k+ Followers – 6 in first comment
*The algorithms are always changing so be sure to experiment regularly
Diversifying your hashtags mix is a great way to increase your post engagement on Instagram.
LinkedIn – Niche vs Broad
LinkedIn is meant to be a platform for professionals, and its rules and best practices for using hashtags reflect that.
First and foremost if you are attempting to boost your engagement on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is set to ‘public’, not ‘private’. Otherwise, you are limiting the post to only those that are in your network.
Just like Instagram, this is a platform where you want to be careful not to use too many. LinkedIn’s algorithm may mark your post as spam if you use too many.
Another point about LinkedIn worth noting is that the hashtags are there to compliment the copy, never to replace it, so while it may be very impactful on some channels to post only a photo and hashtag, that strategy will not work well on this platform.
On LinkedIn its best to go niche versus broad. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to the people and industry you’d like to boost your engagement in. LinkedIn have posted previously mentioning that their algorithm works to find out what users are interested in and matching posts to them.
Research Your Hashtags
Oftentimes, once people have a piece of content and a clever caption to match, hashtags are included as an afterthought.
Its important to research the hashtags used by the community and audience you are hoping to engage with. This can be anything from exploring a range of hashtags in a given niche or by using a hashtag recommendation tool.
Of course in some cases, getting a post up quickly is best when speed and timing is the key to a posts success.
However, more often than not, it pays dividends to put time into researching hashtags, trends and niches; as well as experimenting with the quantity and placement of your hashtags!