If you work with social media in any capacity, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen and used hashtags across multiple platforms. The landscape around them, however, is constantly changing and every site tends to leverage them slightly differently. It can be very confusing if you’re new to social media or coming back from a long hiatus to find everything has changed. This is why tailoring your hashtag strategy should be a routine part of your social media plan.
Why is it important?
Often, hashtag use contributes to a site’s algorithm- the magical formula that helps others find your posts. Some platforms encourage you to use as many hashtags as you want. Other sites actively suppress posts that use too many. Some sites may not punish you for a plethora of tags, but the excessive hashtags might be useless. To help your visibility, you need to know the sweet spots for each of your platforms. Here, I’ll share some tips for the big three: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There are a lot of helpful articles out there for other popular platforms, like TikTok. Just make sure what you’re looking at is up to date, since it’s changing all the time!
Instagram loves hashtags. They allow up to 30 hashtags per post (10 per story), so feel free to use all 30. Note that it doesn’t always help to use all of them. Generally, anywhere from 8 to 14 hashtags is the most effective number. Tags are considered more useful on Instagram because they are the main way people find content. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, people can follow specific hashtags on Instagram. If you use tags in your stories, they also show up on the page for those hashtags. When developing an Instagram hashtag strategy, find both popular hashtags that fit your post as well as more niche tags. This way, you can reach a diverse audience. If you don’t like how 30 hashtags look in the caption, you can “hide” the hashtags in a comment afterwards! It is purely visual and won’t affect how your post shows up in a feed.
While Instagram encourages hashtags, Twitter requires tailoring your hashtag strategy. In fact, engagement decreases with every hashtag you add to a post. In general, a tweet should have between 1 and 3 hashtags, with 1 being ideal. Hashtag-spamming on Twitter could also greatly reduce your impressions if your account is flagged for being either spam or a bot. Even if the algorithm doesn’t flag you, your followers might find the over-use of hashtags annoying. It’s best to focus on trending hashtags or hashtags that fit a specific topic.
Like Twitter, Facebook does not encourage the over-use of hashtags. It also leads to a decrease in engagement once you start using more than 2. This seems counterintuitive given that Facebook is the parent company of Instagram, but the platforms fundamentally embrace hashtags differently. On Facebook, try to use industry-specific hashtags or create your own branded one. Of course, trending hashtags are never a bad idea here, either!
For other social media tips, be sure to check out our other blog posts!