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When you’re on social media, you just can’t escape the hashtag (#). It’s everywhere on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many other social media channels.

But what exactly is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#) within a post or comment to highlight it and facilitate a search for it.

With hundreds of thousands of posts published daily on social media, it can be difficult for a post to stand out. This where hashtags come into play. Basically, by using hashtags in your posts, it can be indexed by the social media platform so that it can be discoverable by everyone, even if they’re not a fan or follower of yours.

Why use hashtags?

When you use a hashtag, your posts aren’t restricted to just your followers. By adding a hashtag, your post content can be seen by others interested in similar topics who search for your hashtag. By choosing the right hashtag, you can expand your social media reach. To include thousands of potential followers, otherwise known as potential customers.

Types of hashtags

There are three powerful type of hashtags to use on social media: content, trending and brand-specific hashtags.

Content hashtags are related to your content. Use hashtags that directly relate to your product, service, industry, or area of expertise.

Trending hashtags are hashtags that are associated with a trending topic. Only use them if your social media post adds value to the existing conversation.

Brand-specific hashtags are hashtags you create that are dedicated and specific to your brand. When using popular or event generic hashtags, your posts can get lost in the many other posts using the same hashtags.

The key to creating a successful brand-specific hashtag is to make sure no one else is using the same hashtag. You want it to be unique and memorable so try your tagline or motto. These hashtags can be used for branding your company, events or contests you’re holding, promotions, and marketing campaigns.

How to use hashtags

To create a hashtag, all you need is a relevant keyword or phrase and a ‘#’ symbol. You want to keep the hashtag short. And you don’t want to over use the hashtag. #no #one #wants #to #read #this! So, don’t use one hashtag per word in your posts.

Use hashtags strategically. Don’t always use generic hashtags that many others are using. Your posts will get lost. Try finding and using niche hashtags so your posts will stand out. You can check out Hashtagify (http://hashtagify.me) for what’s trending in hashtags and if your hashtag is relevant.

Hashtags and social media channels

Twitter: The optimal amount of hashtags to use on Twitter is two. More than that and tweets have been shown to drip significantly in engagement. Hashtags can be used at the end of a tweet or incorporated into a tweet as part of the sentence.

Facebook: Hashtags aren’t important on Facebook. They don’t affect your post, but you can certainly use your brand-specific hashtags. If you do use hashtags, keep them to a minimum.

Instagram: On Instagram, the more hashtags you use, the more engagement you’ll see, to a point. Anything more than 10 hashtags and you start to lose engagement. It’s best to keep your hashtags at the end of your caption.

Don’t be afraid of using hashtags in your social media posts. Just use them correctly and your brand will grow!

#hashtags