Using hashtags on social media, especially on Instagram and Twitter, can be an effective way to enter new conversations and get your content in front of new eyes. But when used incorrectly, they can distract your audience and disrupt your messaging.
Users click on hashtags to discover more content. They want the hashtags associated with the posts they’re browsing to be relevant, interesting and worth their time when they click on them. That’s why you want to be careful not to overdo it by adding too many hashtags. And, you don’t want to throw off your followers by adding the wrong hashtags.
“From a user standpoint, hashtags are used to categorize content, making the discovery of new or related articles and insights easy to do,” says Sprout Social, but, “when hashtags are used incorrectly, people looking for new content have to dig through irrelevant, miscategorized content in order to get to what they’re actually looking for.”
Use the right amount of relevant hashtags in your social media content, and you’ll be sure to boost your engagement and increase your reach to get your brand in front of new eyes.
Here are tips for how to hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to attract new followers and engage your loyal fans:
Using relevant hashtags
It’s a good idea to use hashtags in your Instagram captions that are trending and popular. And, you should also incorporate hashtags that are relevant to your brand, local area and industry. Incorporating both kinds of hashtags into your content will help you get new eyes on your business’ Instagram content and boost your engagement.
What’s considered relevant? Anything your followers would find interesting or anything you think might help your post reach more people on the platform.
You can see what hashtags are trending (a.k.a the hashtags people are using most) by typing a hashtag into Instagram’s search bar. Here, you can see not only related hashtags, but also how many times each hashtag has been used.
It’s a good tip to integrate these trending or high-volume hashtags into the body of your caption and up to 30 at the very end or as the first comment on your post.
Note: You can add up to 30 hashtags per post, but when you go over 10, engagement starts to drop.
You can create a hashtag that’s unique to your brand that your loyal fans can use to talk about your business. It can just be #thenameofyourbusiness, or you can get a little creative. For example, cycling studio RIDE Cycling in Austin uses the hashtag #RIDEtribe to invoke the idea that everyone that rides with them is a part of their team or tribe.
Using industry hashtags is a good way to capitalize on users who are looking for the next place where they want to get their next meal, drink or haircut. For example, if you own a bar, use hashtags like #happyhour or #thirstythursday. Think about what your community is searching for and add that into your captions to capture their attention.
Another good tip is to incorporate local hashtags that are popular in your community. You can grab the attention of people searching specifically for businesses like yours in your area by harnessing the power of the Instagram community in your city or town. For example, foodies in Austin, TX love using #ATXeats. Washington, D.C. residents find restaurants by searching for #dcdining.
If you want to add several hashtags to your caption, make sure to add a period, then hit enter, then a period, then enter at least three times, or add blank characters, then add your hashtags, so users don’t see those hashtags unless they click, “More.”
Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags.
So, what hashtags should you use? The same rules that apply on Instagram also apply on Twitter. Use tweets that are relevant and interesting to your business, local area, and industry. If your business’ account is public, any users who search for a hashtag you’re using, just might find your tweet in their search results.
Twitter makes it easy for you to see what’s trending. If you are on your Home page on Twitter, you can see on the left side that Twitter has gathered “Trends for you.” This is based on who you follow and how you interact with other uses on Twitter. If you click the word “change” in that menu, you can further customize the trending hashtags you see to make sure you’re interacting with the people who would be likely to walk in your door.
You can use the same brand hashtags you’ve created on Instagram as well as Twitter. You can also create a hashtag that gives your followers something to look forward to every week. For example, #MondayEats, #LiveMusicWednesday or #TriviaTuesday.
On Twitter, it’s best to choose 1 or 2 industry-related hashtags to your tweet to attract users to your page. However, it’s important to note that using keywords that you want users to find in your tweet without hashtagging them is just as effective on Twitter.
Using localized hashtags is very important on Twitter to attract users in your local area. Many users use the Twitter search bar like they use Google’s search bar — for example, they might type in “manicure in Denver.” You want your salon’s page to show up in those search results, so make sure your tweets include your product the name of your city: i.e. #manicureDenver, or #manicure #Denver.
Remember, you’re using hashtags to get the attention of social media users who are looking for small businesses and independent ventures just like yours. Before you post on Insta or tweet anything, take a second and think about how you want your audience to react to your post and what hashtags you can use to get new eyes on your brand. That way, more new users and loyal fans will interact with your posts and boost your engagement.