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How To Use Hashtags Effectively

22nd November 2022

Hashtags were all the rage back in the day. They allowed people to join the conversation and everyone had their input in a little pocket of the internet. But why am I talking about hashtags in the past tense? Great question, thanks for asking. Because people are starting to ask whether hashtags have had their day. They’re certainly still prevalent on Twitter and used to great effect but how they are perceived and used has changed since they first emerged in 2007. 

The main thing about hashtags these days is that you hate to see them as a consumer. In terms of brand image it does come across a little too needy. But as a creator or brand, they’re still crucial to building awareness. It all depends on how you use them. Primarily, they can drive engagement. You could use a hashtag of the brand name for everything you post or something related to a specific topic or promotion. This can be a good way to gauge interest and how much people like to engage with you. General brand awareness is also one of the main benefits. Your posts are easier to find with hashtags. 

But crucially, hashtags are platform specific. And if you’re using a third party platform, like Later, to schedule posts, you need to be aware of how hashtags are used on each platform. 


With an algorithm based platform like Instagram, the function of the hashtag is slightly different. It’s not necessarily to get people posting about the same thing in the same place but to make it easier for people to find you. Using hashtags will put you in certain categories and hopefully Instagram will push your posts to people who might be interested. It’s been recommended that you use as many as 30 hashtags in Instagram posts to increase your reach. 


The main aim for most TikTok users is to go viral. No matter what kind of content you post, you want it to be shared, liked, saved, duetted and stitched all over the internet. Whilst the mysterious algorithm is pretty good at getting your content in front of the right people, hashtags will massively improve your reach. You can use as many as you want on TikTok but you only have 100 characters in the caption so use them wisely. 


Twitter still uses hashtags in the most traditional sense - if you can call something so recent ‘traditional’. Conversations on certain topics all happen under the same hashtags. So it’s easy to join these forums. If you’re focussing your efforts on growing your following on Twitter then hashtags allow you to be seen by everyone else who’s also talking about that topic. 


This isn’t really the place for hashtags. Perhaps it used to be when people posted short status updates etc. But these days it’s more of a forum and creators, brands or businesses using hashtags on Facebook risk looking a little out of touch and unprofessional. That being said, they can be used to good effect in a Facebook Group to track the conversations people are having. 

What NOT to Do

Perhaps more important than knowing the best practices, is knowing which actions can be detrimental. 

Banned Hashtags

Every year, Instagram decides there are some hashtags it doesn’t like. Often for good reason - they’ll ban hashtags that promote unhealthy mindsets regarding body image and mental health. If you use any banned hashtags, Instagram simply will not show that post to your audience. The only way people can see it is on your profile. You can find lists of banned hashtags online so make sure you don’t trip over this one. 


Don’t use the same hashtags as everyone else. You won’t get any results by using all the same hashtags as everyone else as your content will get lost. The whole point of hashtags is to put your content in a little localised bubble. Hopping on bandwagons is not the way to use them properly. 

Knowing how to utilise the tools that are in place on all of these platforms will help you achieve your goals and increase your engagement and following. Keep up to date on the latest trends by observing larger creators and getting on those trends before the masses descend upon them! 

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