If you haven’t already stumbled upon the handy trick of adding to hashtags to your social media posts, now’s your chance to potentially boost your page’s views, follows and clicks. Hashtags have become a part of modern language, with almost everyone understanding what they are and how to use them.
Here’s a quick resource on how to use them effectively on your business’ social media pages.

What do hashtags do?

Hashtags are essentially a form of categorisation, which allows social media users to search for content they are interested in. This makes discovering new and related content easy, and are an effective way for businesses to reach new customers.

What do they look like and how do I use them?

Hashtags turn select words into publicly searchable links. To start posting posts with your own hashtags, it’s as simple as adding the pound (#) sign in front of the word you would like to hashtag-ify.
In case you aren’t entirely sure what a hashtag should look like, here’s an example: #australia and #ilovecupcakes

These hashtags are clickable, and will take users to a page/screen which displays all publicly available posts with the same hashtags. See the example scenario below for more info on searching hashtags.

Who can see and search for hashtags?

As long as your social media page/account is public, anyone can find your content based on the hashtags you use.

How many hashtags can I use?

On Instagram, you are limited to 30 hashtags per post, and with Twitter, well you have 140 characters – so hashtag sparingly.
However, there is a hashtag etiquette on how and when to use hashtags, I’ll outline them below.

What are the do’s and don’ts of hashtagging?

The rules of hashtags are pretty much universal, and the following tips are almost considered gospel to many social media fanatics:

Do’s

• Research your hashtags – are they popular? Who uses them? Are they suitable to your business?
• Use short, concise and specific hashtags
• Use hashtags sparingly (3 to 5) for the best engagement
• Use hashtags that relate to the post
• Brand your hashtags eg. #companyname (but don’t go overboard)
• Use hashtags for competitions, live events and web events

Don’ts

• Use long hashtags which string multiple words together
• Fill your post with #lots #of #hashtags #like #this
• Use hashtags that aren’t related to the post, including posts like #followme #followback
• Use hashtags that have negative connotations/posts attached to them (eg. Sexually explicit photos)
• Use overly popular hashtags – your post will most likely get lost (eg. #love)
• Use hashtags that belong to other brands
• Use unknown acronyms

Examples

Scenario – how to search for posts with particular hashtags

Let’s say I’m looking for birthday cake ideas, and am really wanting some visual inspiration. All I’d have to do is open the Instagram app (for example), press the search tab, and search for #birthdaycakes. Now, I’m able to view all photos with the hashtag #birthdaycakes as long as the user accounts were public.
I could even be more specific, and search for something like #boysbirthdaycakes, depending on what hashtags people are using.

Example posts with hashtags

Take a look at this #adorable new #puppy

Did you know that #Facebook was #founded in 2007?

A great thanks to everyone who attended my birthday party! #sweet16 #birthdayparty #bffs

A few tips

• Some hashtags have multiple meanings, and may have NSFW (explicit) photos and posts attached to them.
• Hashtags aren’t just Instagram and Twitter related – many other social media networks use them! So if you see them appearing on different sites, you know hashtags are available to use.

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