The use of hashtags for social media marketing is nothing new.
But, we wanted to provide a one-stop resource that tells you if you should use hashtags, how many hashtags to use, where to find trending hashtags and what kind of exposure hashtags can give you across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Don’t feel like reading about the history of hashtags from way back? Skip to the section that matters most to you.
Where did the hashtag come from? It looks like the hashtag came into existence sometime around the 14th century. Before it was used on telephones and Twitter, the hashtag came from “lb,” the Latin abbreviation for “pound.”
So we (in the U.S.) called it the pound sign for a while.
According to dictionary.com, the hashtag’s official name is the octothorpe, a name invented by telephone technicians when they added the symbol to telephone keypads.
It wasn’t called hashtag until its usage became popular on social media.
The hashtag's usage as a way to find posts about a common topic comes from the below tweet from 2007, suggesting that people used hashtags to create groups on Twitter.
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?— ChrisMessina (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
From there, the hashtag began to build momentum, eventually becoming the social media marketing powerhouse it is today.
Well, now that we know how the hashtag came into existence, we can talk about how to use hashtags on each social media platform.
Using hashtags on Facebook can get your posts more exposure, but you have to use them the right way.
Here are some tips for using hashtags on Facebook:
Tweets with hashtags tend to get double the engagement of tweets without hashtags. But, as usual, there are rules about using hashtags on Twitter, including how to use hashtags in Twitter ads:
If it seems as if the sweet spot across all social media platforms is 1-2 hashtags, this is not the case on Instagram. That's probably why so many Instagram posts have seemingly endless hashtags.
Here are some tips for using hashtags on Instagram:
LinkedIn hasn't always supported hashtags, but, LinkedIn hashtags are back. You can use them in pretty much the same way you'd use a hashtag anywhere else.
People can search for hashtags on LinkedIn in the same way they can on other platforms, and LinkedIn uses hashtags to monitor what's important to users so it can show them more relevant content.
This is how you should use hashtags on LinkedIn:
As with all things marketing, you should do a little research on hashtags before you go throwing them into every social media post you publish for your business.
Look at what your competition is doing with hashtags. Are they using any at all? Do they bombard their followers with hashtags? Or, is their strategy driving customer engagement? If they're doing a good job, try to mimic what they're doing for a while until you get the hang of it. Then, build your own hashtag strategy.
Wherever you use hashtags, they cannot include special characters, such as #digital+marketing. Your hashtags need to be all one word without special characters and spaces.
And don't forget to use hashtag research tools to give you the best chance at maximizing your hashtag usage. Here are some research tools.
Not sure what your hashtags should say? Here are some tools to help you get started: