If you’re a small business owner looking to get the most out of your social media marketing, then it’s time to start taking hashtags seriously. While many people have heard of hashtags and know how to use them, they don’t always realise their importance in terms of connecting to the right audiences and getting your content seen by more people.
Hashtags act as pathways for users on social media platforms, enabling them to easily find content that is related to their particular interests. Everyone from Instagrammers and TikTokers searching for specific topics, or brands researching what other companies are saying about their industry – all of these scenarios can be made easier with the help of hashtags.
For small businesses, understanding how to effectively use hashtags across different platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok can be a game-changer.
Hashtags allow you to connect with a much broader audience beyond just your followers. By using popular keywords within your posts (without going overboard), you open up the opportunity for people who may not know about your brand yet to discover it through search results or hashtag feeds on the platform.
On Facebook many people opt not to use hashtags, they were late to embrace this compared to other apps but if you look at Facebook’s guidelines you’ll find they share details on how you should use them so I’d suggest you consider it, read more on Facebook hashtags here.
Again here, hashtags enable you to reach beyond just your own audience by allowing them to discover new content related to theirs that they may not have found otherwise. When planning out captions for images or videos on Instagram it’s essential that they include relevant hashtags – but make sure not to overuse them either even though you can include up to 30 on Instagram you don’t have to!
Instagram – Instagram Creators – an official Instagram account, at the time of writing this post (March 2023), many of the most recent posts had no hashtags at all! Yet, here’s the official information from Instagram on how to use hashtags at this link. Our advice, experiment if you’re using Instagram in your marketing and keep hashtags very relevant to the content that you’re posting.
Hashtags are an absolute must when using this platform – they help organise conversations into different categories and make it easy for Twitter users looking for certain topics to find discussions that pertain specifically only to those topics. It also offers great opportunities for businesses involved in trending topics in order to boost engagement levels around certain campaigns or product launches.
Twitter share information on how best to use hashtags in a post on their site which you can read here.
This app is heavily reliant upon its hashtag system; unlike other platforms which have separate search functions outside of their hashtagging system, TikTok searches exclusively within its database of tags making it even more important that posts use relevant tags if they hope to be discovered by the larger userbase within this network.
TikTok is particularly strong in helping you find what’s trending and hashtags are no exception, discover what’s trending now at this link on TikTok’s website.
And finally LinkedIn:
This business-focused social media platform is becoming an increasingly important channel for businesses of all sizes – so make sure you’re aware of the best practices when using hashtags there too! They play an important role in helping professionals connect with others (including potential employers) and join conversations around trending topics related specifically to industries they want exposure to.
Learn more on Linkedin hashtags at this link and discover a guide to best practice which at the time of writing suggests 3 per post.
What other advice would I give on hashtags?
- Don’t just follow what’s trending, I have frequently seen posts on ‘the top Linkedin hashtags’ where anything from the names of countries to specific industries gets a mention and while factually it may be accurate (it’s not something I study!), it’s information that’s not relevant to most businesses – unless of course, you’re trading globally across a wide range of very different sectors? Think about your niche specifically, that’s where you want to be discovered.
- Never hop on a trending hashtag to get attention. Yes a big celebrity may be getting married or a breaking news story may have everybody talking but unless it’s really, really appropriate to your business, there are times trying to hijack a trending hashtag can backfire spectacularly.
- When you’re assigning a hashtag to an event, product, service, or business, check if it’s commonly used for something else – you might make an informed choice in advance to use an alternative.
- If you’re planning to host an event, decide on a hashtag you would like to use and make sure to tell your audience, repeatedly! If you don’t ensure everybody knows what you’re checking in on people may well create their own and that dilutes the reality on the day.
- Learn about banned hashtags on Instagram, certain hashtags won’t be visible as they have been used repeatedly outside of the terms of the app and you can learn more on this from Instagram at this link.
- Research, check in on what’s working on a regular basis, and experiment – like everything in marketing, ongoing testing is essential.
When used properly, Hashtags can become powerful tools when applied strategically throughout all areas of your digital marketing strategies – so be sure you’re utilising them everywhere across all channels in your business.
Debbie Ringwood is a Marketing Specialist with over 20 years of experience in B2B and B2C Marketing. She is a Graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Digital Marketing Institute. She is a Linkedin Certified Marketing Insider, META Certified Community Manager, and Canva Champion.
Debbie supports, coaches, and trains businesses in Marketing, Social Media, Canva & WordPress along with her team, working with businesses at different stages of their journey.