Hashtags: What Are They & How Do I Use Them?

Find, use, and reap the benefits of social media hashtags. Here’s everything you need to know about these tags and how to use them.

A lot of features on social media platforms can make your business successful. Posting regular, high-quality content is one sure way to get the attention of the algorithms and your target audience. But what about hashtags? Hashtags are used in almost every Instagram post we scroll past, but why? What are they there for and are they making a real difference?

The quick answer: Yes!

But how do businesses know which tags to use and how do you make it to the top of the “Most Popular” or “Recent”? Here, I’ll explain what hashtags (#s) are and how your business can benefit from them.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or collection of words that you’d like to associate with your posted graphic or image. In order for your tag to be labeled a ‘hashtag’, it must include the pound symbol (#) followed by words or a phrase without any spaces. For example, here are some that I chose to use on this client’s post:

You get the idea.

These tags are all used to associate the post with the client’s industry and the services they offer, rather than putting it in the actual body of the caption. Hashtags are a quick and easy way to add bulk content to each post without bogging it down and making it difficult for the reader. Long captions and paragraphs tend to get looked over, but by using these tags, you ensure that your post is relevant to all subjects of the post.

Why Use Hashtags?

Using a hashtag, or a group of tags, in your post makes your content more searchable. People are connecting with, following, and engaging with the top or recent posts in each of the tags you’ve selected. By using them yourself, you improve your chances of being seen when people search for a specific tag.

Think of hashtags like keywords that people would search for on Google. If you think a keyword is relevant to your post, include it. But, there are also things to consider when selecting the right tags

How to Use Hashtags

Using hashtags is easy; selecting the right ones can be tricky. When you sit down and write a post, consider the content, all the relevant keywords, and any phrases that you think are associated with your business, the industry, and the individual post itself. If there isn’t a specific hashtag for your content, create one–but make sure you continue to use it, so it becomes popular in the eyes of the Instagram gods, and easier to find for your audience when they type in a similar search.

Know the Numbers

With millions of users on Instagram and Facebook, it’s no surprise that some tags have more than one million posts associated with them. This can make it very tricky for your posts to be seen at the top, especially if you’re just starting to grow your following and don’t have millions of likes or views on your content, yet. With that being said, if you want your content to be seen sooner rather than later, focus on keywords or tags that have fewer uses.

Researching relevant industry or niche tags takes time, so be prepared to put some effort into this part of your research, but once you have compiled a list of tags you want to use on your page, keep this close and watch the numbers carefully. When it’s all said and done, you should have a list of tags that have varying numbers of uses.

Get Creative

If a popular tag you want to use has a million plus uses, it’s not viable for you to use as your main tag. Instead, get creative and think outside the box for phrases and word combinations that have fewer uses. Don’t be afraid to experiment with tags and do thorough research on whether or not your content will show up on these searches.

Also, play with words and combine things like #marrymemondays, #wristwatchwednesdays, or #flashbackfriday❤️for a more fun and creative spin on the regular old hashtag. Associating your industry or post topic with the day of the week is a great way to ensure you stay current and relevant, yet also encourages other so engage with your content on that day. Your audience will come to expect a related post on the same day of every week.

Know How Many to Use

How many hashtags you use in each post is up to you. Ideally, you should have a list compiled of at least 20-30 tags. This will give you a good start when it comes time to use a combination of them. Having so many could also help you come up with new ones to use in the future. When it comes to adding them to a post, you can use as many as you want, but it’s highly recommended that you stick between 12-15 tags on each post. This will ensure maximum flexibility and reach with each tag.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Engagement is a real part of management social media. If you don’t engage with your audience and follow back, like comments, or respond to messages, it’s very likely that you’ll be losing key followers and attention. Users want to know there is someone behind the screen and all the perfect images you post. So, before you use any of the hashtags you’ve identified for your page, you must follow them, engage with recent content by liking, commenting, and leaving your two cents worth on at least nine posts in each tag.

This part of your social media strategy can take some time, but if you or your social media manager break this up throughout the day, you could only be spending roughly three hours engaging and growing your social community. If three hours out of your day brought you 5 or 6 more leads, follows, or likes to a post, would it be worth it to you? We think so.

So, before you spout off your post and forget about it, starting engaging with the tags you’re using. The algorithm will take notice and the Instagram gods will reward you for it.

Contact Me

If you’re looking for someone to help you with hashtag research, implementation, or overall social media management, then let’s connect. I proudly serve clients across the country. To find out more about my social media services, contact me today for a FREE 20-minute chat.