The dos and don’ts when using hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…
You’ve painstakingly uploaded your image, written a thoughtful description geared for connection, and then it comes to hashtags, the shadow goblin of the posting process. Hashtags can sometimes be an afterthought, but with strategic planning, you can expand your reach, increase engagement, and grow your tribe.
Hashtags are the calling cards of your social. Done correctly and creatively, hashtags can have a serious impact on engagement. I’ve compiled some quick tips (backed by the latest research) so you can leave your questions at the door, save time & kill it at the hashtag game.
Variety is the spice of life, especially on the ‘gram. Instagram will flag you as a bot if you repeat the same hashtags over and over again. Make sure you switch it up to safeguard you from the death flag.
You want to hop on the most popular hashtags, right? Well not exactly. To help you beat the algorithm, I suggest pulling hashtags that are both big (popular) and small (less popular). This way you have a the chance at being at the top of the search for a more niche hashtag. Or at the top of a popular hashtag when you first post.
How do you find relevant hashtags?
- Hop on insta
- click the magnifying glass at the bottom (search)
- start typing a possible keyword that describes your content in the search bar such as #hashtag for this post.
- Under the search bar, in light grey you will see Top Accounts Tags Places
- Click on ‘Tags’
- You will then be able to view how many posts a specific tag has and give you creative ideas for alternative hashtags with a more niche (smaller) post history.
- ****Bonus points: Influencers create viral hashtags. Stock, I mean Follow influencers and study their patterns. Piggybacking on trending hashtags helps your brand look relevant. #Caturday #tbt (throw back Thursday) or fun trends like the #bottlecapchallenge are a fun way for your business to jump into those fun conversations.
Insta hashtag strategy can be daunting. What I suggest is to take an hour or two and research relevant hashtags for your brand. You can include those in your notes app in your phone, or if you are a pen and paper gal, like me, I’ve created a printable for you. Pull from your branded lists, create variety, keep it current, and make sure the hashtags go with your post.
How many? Use one to two relevant hashtags in each post.
Why so few? Less hashtags = less sleazy sales vibes. Facebook is a place for connecting with friends and family. Don’t oversell on here. Another reason to keep it short: posts with 40- 80 characters (roughly 3 sentences) received 80% more engagement.
Hashtags can help highlight specific campaigns. Setting up these campaign with giveaways and challenges is an excellent way to get your hands on that sweet user generated content.
*User generated content or UGC, is content that is created and posted by your followers and customers. Obtaining these UGC is pure gold for your business. You can also repost UGC to your feed = one less post to create, hells yes!
(just remember always ask permission and let your customer know how much you appreciate their shout out!)
How many? One to two relevant hashtags per Tweet is the sweet spot. I’ve found that with twitter, cleverness is the key. Be concise and get playful with hashtags by finding creative ways to weave hashtags into the meat of your message.
Easy go to tip: I stick to using one trending hashtag, when relevant, and one identifying hashtag so people can find us in future. For example trending: #MondayMotivation searchable: #socialmediatips
Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest is a search engine. The keywords in your description as well as your hashtags are searchable. My advice, weave keywords in your your helpful Pin description. Add a few relevant hashtags that don’t organically fit in your description and you’re all set.
HASHTAG ETIQUETTE + THINGS TO AVOID
If you are hoping on a popular hashtag like #nationaldonutday, but you are posting a pic of your cat Mildred, peeps will get turned off, sorry Mil. Best practice, plan ahead. You can access a list of the national days here and when relevant and tasteful, create content that connects with your brand and the trend for the day.
“Unlike hashtags elsewhere, Pinterest hashtags aren’t used for jokes, memes or commentary. So for a fashion brand, something like #springfashion would work well—but #ilookterribleinhats wouldn’t.” – Pinterest Business Blog
Tastefully hide your hashtags on Instagram. How? Use one of two ways:
1. Post hashtags in the comments section for your post.
2. Drop hashtags far below your post, by using the return key and a symbol 5 times should suffice. This took me a few moons to furgure out, thus a diagram for you… It is easy to see how creating content, writing captions, and creating hashtag strategy seems like a whole other job on top of running your biz? Want me to do this for ya? I’d be delighted to! Learn More
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