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How Many Hashtags? A Quick #RefresherCourse

By Oliver Krafka, Lead Writer at Scratch Copywriting LLC

Most of us know what a hashtag is, the problem is many people aren’t sure how, when, or why it’s important to use them. On top of that, many social media platforms allow the use of hashtags, and there are different strategies for each.

Let’s start with the basics: in a nutshell, a hashtag is a combination of letters and numbers preceded by the # symbol (the pound sign), used to categorize a post, increase engagement, and strengthen branding. Adding hashtags to a social media post will greatly increase the visibility and potential reach of said post.

A post without hashtags? Please allow me a quick analogy—say you’re fishing; you set a line in the water without using bait or lure, and you haven’t attached the hook properly. There’s nothing to attract the ‘fish’, and soon the hook disconnects, sinking to the bottom of the river—see where I’m going? A post without hashtags will possibly show up in your follower’s feeds, but is more likely to be lost, buried in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of posts they scroll by every day.

A Few Tips

  • See what’s popular. Research hashtags used by celebrities, influencers, and competitors, but make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to your post. I don’t want a picture of your #BeachLife vacation interrupting my #MonsterTruck feed.
  • If you’re creating a hashtag, either for personal or company branding, be creative and specific. Hashtags with 10+ characters tend to perform better than those with less. A memorable hashtag will stick in the mind.
  • Experiment with popular and unique hashtags; if a post doesn’t perform well, consider re-posting it at a later time using a different combination of hashtags. Compare the results to see what’s working and what’s not.
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A Few Differences

There are some subtle differences with how hashtags are used on different social media platforms. Here’s a quick rundown of the most prevalent:

  • Instagram—Arguably the most popular social media platform for hashtags. More successful posts have nine or 10 hashtags, but be careful not to clutter the post; add hashtags in a comment after you post, or ‘enter’ down five lines before adding them. Users can search hashtags and also follow them. Do some research on the app to find what’s popular.
  • Twitter—another popular platform for hashtags. Character count matters here, and hashtags are no exception; don’t use more than one or two per post. Users can search for hashtags here and will also see trending hashtags and topics in the ‘search’ section of the app.
  • Facebook—this platform is different when it comes to hashtags. Because users are generally private, when you search a hashtag, you’ll see content from friends, organizations, and influencers you follow. The use of hashtags on Facebook is better suited for organizations working to connect with the users following their page(s). It’s best to use only one or two hashtags here, with an emphasis on posting multiple times a day.
  • LinkedIn—hashtags are still fairly new to this platform. Users are prompted to follow hashtags, and posts containing them will appear in their feed. Similar to Facebook, you’ll see only content from within your network: connections, groups, and pages followed. Use up to five hashtags in a post, or in the description of an article.

 

A Note to End On

Hashtags are important. Similar to SEO (search engine optimization) best practice, we’re picking out keywords with the hope of attracting more people to our content. We use hashtags to be seen and must use them correctly so that we’re seen by the right people. But technology, including social media, is everchanging, being updated with new features, having algorithms rewritten—it’s never-ending.

However, it’s safe to say hashtags will be around for the foreseeable future, allowing us to connect with each other, forming communities, achieving goals, enjoying hobbies, or simply entertaining us with adorable cat pictures.


 

Oliver Krafka

Oliver Krafka is a marketing copywriter at Scratch Copywriting LLC, where he utilizes a boundless creativity and keen eye for language to create targeted and engaging copy. He can be reached on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/oliverkrafka and scratchcopywriting.com.

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