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A Basic Guide to Hashtags

Hashtags can be found on every social media platform. They are tools to help you be discovered, and knowing how to use them properly can help boost your brand’s social media reach and engagement.

To put it simply, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound symbol (#). They’re used to help categorize and filter content through all the clutter of the internet, helping marketing, advertising, and social media teams track what’s up-and-coming and trending.

Hashtags come in all shapes and sizes, with things like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) or #ootd (Outfit of the Day) trending daily on various platforms, or hyper specific hashtags on certain platforms like #fyp (For You Page) on the rising social space of TikTok. They help make the content you put out discoverable and in turn reach more people, no matter which social space you’re using.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to using hashtags is that you always start with the # followed by any combinations of words or phrases, but won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation, or symbols. Keep in mind that the simpler the hashtag the better, as long hashtags are hard to read and don’t flow as well.

Before using any hashtags, it’s always a good idea to see what is trending and to use those hashtags to join in conversations — but make sure you know what those conversations are all about and are relevant to your posts before joining in.

Here is a quick recap of hashtags dos and don’ts:

  • Dos:
    • Keep hashtags simple. The best hashtags tend to be shorter and easier to remember, many being changed into acronyms. So short and sweet is always better.
    • Use relevant and specific hashtags. Specificity is key, using obscure or random keywords will make your content harder to find.
    • Use correct spelling. Be sure to double-check your spelling, as incorrect spelling of hashtags can lead to no one being able to see your content.
    • Hashtags in descriptions. Don’t hesitate to use hashtags in descriptions, not just at the end of your posts. You can always be fun and creative when it comes to using hashtags.
  • Don’ts:
    • More isn’t always better. Spamming your posts with a bunch of hashtags doesn’t always benefit you as it actually looks quite spammy. Also, don’t #hashtag #every #single #word.
    • Repetitive and irrelevant hashtags. Hashtags aren’t about getting seen by a lot of people, they’re about getting seen by the right people. Picking and choosing the right tags will lead to more engagement and followers.
    • Hashtags shouldn’t be your main goal. They shouldn’t be your number one priority, as the content you put out should be what is relevant for your followers. The hashtags are what helps you breach out your content.

Not having or using the best hashtags isn’t going to be the end of the world, but if used correctly you’ll be able to maximize the potential reach your content can go. Understanding and using hashtags to your benefit can only help grow your presence on social media, so don’t be afraid to use them.

Also be sure to check out our post on some of the best social media platforms for your business!

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