How to Use Hashtags Effectively

Eddie Mutema
Inside Infobwana
28 April 2022
Guilding Sellers to use Social Media and other channels more effectively

Hashtags #LookLikeThis. You’ve seen everyone on your favourite social media app use them and I’m sure you’ve wondered why. In this article, we’re touching on the tip of the iceberg; that is the importance of hashtags and how your social media presence can improve just by adding them to your posts and comments online.

What are hashtags and how do they work for you?

A hashtag is a metadata tag that is prefaced by the pound sign or hash symbol, #. Hashtags are used on microblogging and photo-sharing services such as Twitter, Instagram and WeChat as a form of user-generated tagging that enables cross-referencing of content; that is, sharing a topic or theme.

Key things to remember about hashtags

  • A hashtag always starts with # but it won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation or symbols.
  • Make sure your accounts are public. If your account is private, users that don’t follow you will not be able to see your content.
  • Hashtags are easier to remember when they’re short. Don’t make them too long.
  • Use relevant and specific hashtags. If it is too unique, it will be hard and in most cases, it won’t likely be used by other social media users.
  • Try to use fewer hashtags on your post. If you use too many, your post may look untidy or spammy.

Why you should use hashtags

i. To increase engagement with your followers
Using hashtags in your posts increases your chances of being seen by other users. If you joined a conversation online, adding hashtags to your comments helps the algorithm prioritize you and show your comments to more people. Adding hashtags to your comments and posts can lead to greater engagement, through likes, shares and comments. 

ii. Build brand awareness with branded hashtags
Creating a branded hashtag can be an effective way to promote your business and drive conversations. For example, someone came up with the phrase ‘local is laka’ or ‘support local’ in recent years and it’s become a household phrase attached to the pride people feel when they talk about their culture or tradition. It was easy to attach #localislaka and #supportlocal to any local brand online and be seen immediately by other people looking for local brands.

iii. Show support for social issues

  • Using a hashtag that’s connected to an issue beyond your brand is a way to mobilize behind an important cause or issue.
  • For example, #BlackLivesMatter was used across social media platforms to show support for racial equality. If you have/ had an opinion on the matter and wanted to join a worldwide conversation, you’d add the hashtag, and the international community of social media users would be able to see your views. 

Brands can also create a hashtag to promote a product or service. For example, MTN, a telecommunications company, uses the hashtag #EveryWhereYouGo to symbolize how many parts of the world they operate in.

iv. Using hashtags so people can find you
On Linkedin and Instagram, users can follow a hashtag to see comments from different people all over the world. Using a few popular hashtags can be another way to help new users find your brand.

For example, if you use #foodie on your Instagram posts, someone who follows that hashtag will see your recent post in their feed and will be enticed to follow you if they like what you’re offering. This is a great way to gain new followers.

iv. Hashtags aid your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Adding hashtags to your social media posts will mean you have more opportunities to place your content in Google search results. If you place your hashtags well in your blog titles, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts you will create an additional way for users to search and discover your brand easily. 

This seemingly simple symbol (#) is quite powerful on social media platforms and it may be the reason users join your conversations on Twitter or see your posts on Instagram. Try it, and let us know how it works for you.