The history of the # symbol starts in the world of programming. The term was coined by Stowe Boyd, as he and his friends referred to the symbol as ‘the hash.’ What was once known as a programming tool became one of the most well known symbols associated with any social media platform.

Hashtags are powerful tools for branding and marketing purposes. They can help funnel target audiences and aid in overall discoverability among the billions of people across social media platforms. Hashtags help connect content to a specific keyword, topic, theme or event. Sifting through posts around their specific hashtag(s) is made easier through the use of this tool. Hashtags are especially useful when running a campaign where you want to aggregate user-generated content or monitor the conversation around your brand.

We’ve broken down how you can effectively use hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Twitter

On Twitter, it’s best to first do a simple search to see if the hashtag you want to use is already out there. Because chances are, what you want to say may have already been said. Doing a quick skim through any possible repeated hashtags is beneficial to make sure that the sentiment around the topic will be reflective of how you want people to react to your campaign. Though hashtags aren’t case sensitive, it can help to capitalize letters so that the phrase is easier to read. If you are running a campaign on Twitter, create a unique hashtag for your initiatives. Prompt people to post with your hashtag by increasing awareness and using the # wherever relevant. 

Another reason to use hashtags on Twitter is to join in on a conversation. From cultural movements to Superbowl ads, the topics of what people could be tweeting about are endless. By chiming in on meaningful conversations and adding hashtags to your posts, you automatically increase the chances of seeing more engagements and interactions with the tweet itself and of course, your profile and brand.

Facebook

The use of hashtags on Facebook wasn’t widely adopted until recently. The impact of this tool on Facebook is growing, especially since Instagram accounts can now be linked to Facebook accounts. Hashtags can make your Facebook posts searchable. While this is the tool’s fundamental purpose, it’s a no-brainer that your post is more likely to show up if a user is searching for something specific with the keyword already embedded in your post. Pairing relevant hashtags with your content puts your brand in front of the people who need to see it. And while Facebook ads are undoubtedly an effective way to launch a campaign, hashtags can help with your reach as well-and all for free. Like Twitter, you can also track and monitor trending topics to make use of already popular hashtags. Doing so will increase visibility and possibly draw in new followers.

Branded hashtags on Facebook can also encourage engagement from your audience. You can prompt people to post about your campaign or product by inviting them to include the specific hashtag to their posts, creating a train of people promoting your brand without spending ad dollars.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the best places to make use of hashtags. According to Later, a post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a one. On this particular platform, hashtags are one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences. Users intentionally look up tagged posts to discover more content, and implementing the right hashtags will give your target audience a front row seat to your profile and brand. It’s important to keep in mind that Instagram hashtags will only work with public accounts. There’s also a limit of 30 hashtags per post and 10 hashtags per Instagram Story. Using a variety of hashtags isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s encouraged for you to tag as many relevant keywords to your post as possible.

Using branded hashtags on Instagram can be incredibly useful as well. Even if it’s incorporating something as simple as your company name or tagline, you are essentially able to uniquely brand each of your posts using this method. Branded hashtags connect the themes of your campaign with you and your audience. In a campaign that is reliant on UGC, hashtags are essential in being able to aggregate all that content into one place. You’re also able to follow hashtags on Instagram to keep track of all content that’s being shared to the topic. Using niche hashtags will also help get your post in front of a more relevant audience that has a higher likelihood of engaging with your content and brand.

To wrap things up…

Hashtags are still incredibly important in 2021. And now that you know the benefits of using hashtags, make sure to utilize them in your next campaign. Increasing brand awareness, overall engagement and impressions are all effective ways to ensure the success of any campaign. Being able to monitor the conversation around your specified hashtag, will allow you to track the effectiveness of your hashtag usage and your overall campaign. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and #hashtag to your heart’s content.