13 effective hashtag strategies for social media marketers 

Claire Sy

If you’ve spent time on Twitter or Instagram you’ve likely noticed the prevalence of phrases like #ThrowbackThursdays or #photooftheday on the site. Twitter users usually put these on their posts to make their posts easier to find or join in on popular topics. 

But did you know businesses can also benefit from doing this? Hashtags can be a powerful tool for social media campaigns when used strategically. 

Learn how to use hashtags and create a successful hashtag strategy with our simple guide. We’ll help you reach the right audience with these efficient tips. 

What is a hashtag? 

A hashtag is a word used on social media platforms to categorize and group related content. They’re preceded by the hashtag symbol or “#”. You can use hashtags strategically to increase your posts’ visibility and reach a broader audience interested in specific topics or trends. 

There are different types of hashtags for different posts and occasions. When you understand each type, you can tailor your social media strategies for maximum impact. Here’s a breakdown of the primary types of hashtags used across platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn: 

  • Branded hashtags. These are unique to a company or campaign. Nike’s #JustDoIt is a good example. 
  • Trending hashtags. These include currently popular due to events or viral topics. This is like seeing #WorldCup trending on Twitter. 
  • Niche hashtags. These are specific to an industry or community like #TravelBlogger. 
  • Content hashtags. Related to the post’s content like #SunsetPhotography for Instagram posts that include pictures of sunsets. 
  • Campaign hashtags. For specific marketing campaigns. Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign is a prime example of this. 
  • Community hashtags. Connecting users around a subject or interest. Writers creating a post for other writers on Instagram can use #WritersOfInstagram for other writers to find. 
  • Event hashtags. These are associated with events like #MetGala2024. 
  • Location hashtags. These refer to a specific place. For example, food bloggers in New York can tag their posts with #NYCFoodie. 
  • Challenge/contest hashtags. For social media challenges or contests like the #30DayChallenge. 
  • Seasonal hashtags. These are related to seasons, holidays, or events. So, posts created in December can be tagged with #HolidaySeason. 

By including relevant hashtags in your social media posts, you can connect with potential customers and join conversations happening within your industry. This can lead to more engagement, as users interested in that hashtag might like, comment, or follow your account. 

Different hashtags across social media platforms 

Each social media platform has its own nuances in how hashtags are used and their effectiveness. Here’s a brief overview of how hashtags function differently across various platforms: 

Instagram hashtags 

Users can follow hashtags on Instagram, making it easier for your content to reach a non-following audience. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, encouraging a mix of broad and niche tags to maximize discovery. 

Pinterest hashtags 

Hashtags on Pinterest are clickable and function similarly to keywords, helping users find more relevant content. They are used primarily in pin descriptions for better searchability. 

LinkedIn hashtags 

Hashtags on LinkedIn categorize content for professional networking and industry-related discussions. They help users discover posts in their field of interest and are used more sparingly compared to other platforms. 

Facebook hashtags 

While hashtags can be used on Facebook to categorize content, they are less commonly used for discovery due to the platform’s focus on connections between friends and family. 

YouTube hashtags 

Hashtags can be included in video titles and descriptions, helping users find videos on specific topics. YouTube limits the number of effective hashtags to 15 per video. 

TikTok hashtags 

Hashtags are crucial on TikTok for joining trends, and challenges, and reaching a wider audience. They are often used creatively to enhance the storytelling aspect of videos. 

Twitter hashtags 

Hashtags on Twitter are key for engaging in real-time conversations, joining trending topics, and making tweets discoverable in specific discussions. They’re used to follow live events, news, and community chats. 

13 simple hashtag tips: How to use hashtags for your small business 

As a marketer, hashtags can be a valuable tool in your social media campaigns. Instead of only reaching the people who already follow you, you could widen your reach to a group of customers you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to tap. 

Here are a few ways hashtags can make your campaign more powerful: 

  1. Research trending hashtags

A successful hashtag strategy starts with research. Discover popular hashtags within your industry by using social media platforms’ search functions. Your goal is to choose hashtags that your target audience is actively following and engaging. This strategic approach ensures that your content reaches the right people, at the right time. You can observe how certain hashtags are used and the type of content associated with them. This will give you a clear idea of what’s currently engaging your target audience. 

Additionally, tools like Hashtagify or RiteTag can be incredibly helpful. These tools offer insights into the popularity and relevance of specific hashtags, helping you to select the right ones that can make your content more visible to interested users. 

  1. Start a conversation

It’s a new hashtag’s ultimate dream to “trend.” When a hashtag becomes extremely popular on Twitter, it is listed among the top trending tags on the site. Since many users will click on those top trends, those hashtags get even more attention. Whether your goal is to trend or simply initiate an easy-to-follow conversation, creating a relevant, interesting hashtag is the first step. 

If you’ve been to a conference or convention recently, you’ve likely seen these hashtags in action. Conference organizers encourage attendees to tweet using a particular hashtag. Throughout the conference, by simply clicking on or searching for that hashtag, attendees can see all posts related to the sessions and events. 

  1. Add value to existing interactions

One popular technique for Twitter marketers is to choose a trending topic and add it to the conversation. As you post an announcement about your new product or upcoming event, search for a hashtag that relates to it and incorporate the hashtag. You can even use more than one if you feel it might connect with more groups of users. Be careful not to overdo it. 

Note that if you choose to interact with a trending hashtag, it’s important to always keep in mind that your followers can see your posts. You may get caught up in a discussion on Super Bowl Sunday, for instance, and post throughout the big game. Even though you’re sharing your love of football with hundreds of thousands of other fans interacting on the site, your own followers can still see what you post. 

Keep it professional at all times and, by most importantly, avoid engaging in arguments with cyber trolls. It’s easy for things to escalate and before you know it, you’ve alienated the customers and colleagues who happen to be online during that time. 

  1. Mix up your hashtags

Don’t just stick to the most popular hashtags; blend them with niche ones specific to your business or content. 

Think of it like this: broad hashtags such as #fashion and #food, are like big, busy hubs where lots of people gather online. They can make your content visible to many but it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. On the other hand, niche hashtags such as #veganrecipes and #bohostyle, are small online spaces where everyone shares a specific interest. These tags might attract fewer people, but those people are more likely to really care about your content because it’s exactly what they’re interested in. 

By using both types of hashtags, you get the best of both worlds: lots of eyes on your posts, plus engagement from people who are genuinely interested in what you offer. 

Find the right balance between popular and niche hashtags relevant to your business. This way, you can reach a wide audience while also connecting with potential customers who are most likely to engage with your brand. 

  1. Create brand-specific hashtags

Creating brand-specific hashtags involves coming up with a unique tag that reflects your brand, such as your company name, a catchy phrase, or a product name. This tag acts like a digital signature for your business, making your content easily recognizable and shareable. 

To create your own branded hashtag, keep these tips in mind: 

  • Keep it simple and memorable. Your hashtag should be easy to remember and spell. The simpler it is, the more likely it will be used. 
  • Make it relevant. It must closely relate to your brand or the specific campaign you’re promoting. 
  • Check for uniqueness. Do a quick search to make sure you don’t end up with the same hashtags as other brands. Otherwise, it can cause confusion for social media users. 

Then, monitor how your hashtag is used to see who’s engaging with your brand and how far your reach extends. Sharing posts from your customers not only gives you authentic content but also motivates others to join in, knowing they might get featured on your page. 

  1. Keep your hashtags natural

Hashtags should fit seamlessly into your posts without disrupting the flow of your message. Creating a hashtag that merely markets your product will likely be ineffective. At the very least, you’ll come across as trying to push your idea. 

Instead of centering your hashtag on your marketing campaign, come up with a unique way to promote your brand. Your hashtag will then serve as your slogan for that campaign. 

Kmart’s #shipmypants campaign was a great example of this. The company incorporated the hashtag into a video campaign to promote its home shipping to great results. Customers found the videos funny enough to forward them, helping the campaign reach more customers. 

  1. Keep up with the latest trending topics

Staying on top of trending topics and hashtags is a great way to get more social media users to see your business. When you join in on these conversations with content that fits your business, you can grab the attention of a bigger audience. But it’s important to pick trends that match what your brand is all about. Here’s how to do it simply: 

  • Choose wisely. Only jump on trends that make sense for your brand. If a trend doesn’t fit with your values or what you offer, it’s better to skip it. 
  • Be unique. When you decide to join a trend, add something special from your brand to the conversation. This could be your unique take on the topic, helpful advice, or something fun and related to what you sell. 
  • Be quick but careful. Trends move fast, so act quickly but avoid controversial topics that might upset your customers. 
  • Watch the reaction. Pay attention to how people react to your trend-related posts. This can help you understand what they like and don’t like. 

Remember, being genuine is key. Your goal is to show that your brand is up-to-date and engaging without looking like you’re just trying to jump on the bandwagon. By thoughtfully participating in trends, you can show off your brand’s personality and connect with more people. 

  1. Engage in community hashtags

Community hashtags connect like-minded users around specific subjects, hobbies, or interests. Engaging with these can help you build relationships with potential customers and like-minded brands. It’s a way to show your business’s personality and values, fostering a sense of belonging and community. Here’s a simple way to go about it: 

  • Find the right hashtags. Look for hashtags that fit what your business does and what your customers like. 
  • Post interesting stuff. Share posts that people in these communities will find useful or fun. It could be tips, inspirational stories, or how your products fit into their lifestyle. 
  • Be real. People want genuine interactions, not just ads. Show off what makes your brand special in a way that feels natural. 
  • Talk to people. Don’t just post your stuff. Like, comment on, and share other people’s posts too. It helps get your name out there and shows you are part of the community. 
  • See what works. Keep an eye on which posts get the most likes or comments and use that info to make your future posts even better. 
  1. Host a contest

Another great way to launch a successful hashtag is through a contest. By simply hosting a giveaway or promising a discount to everyone who participates, you’ll see multiple instances of your hashtag at once. Each of those posts will be seen by those Twitter and Instagram user’s followers, giving your hashtag even greater visibility and possibly welcoming additional people into the conversation. 

To add even greater visibility to your hashtag campaign, consider hosting an image-based campaign. Images stand out in newsfeeds and customers have fun posting photos of themselves interacting with your product or socializing at your event. Once other customers start seeing the photos, they may choose to participate in the contest as well. 

  1. Limit the number of hashtags

While platforms like Instagram allow up to 30 hashtags per post, bombarding your posts with too many can seem spammy and may even deter engagement. Posts with #too #many #hashtags #scattered #throughout can be difficult to read and annoying. 

A focused selection of relevant hashtags often proves more effective. As a rule of thumb, using around 5 to 10 well-chosen hashtags per post is a good practice. 

  1. Use location hashtags

As we previously discussed, location hashtags pin your posts to a specific place. If you’re a local business, incorporating location-based hashtags helps attract customers in your area, increasing foot traffic and local interest. 

If these hashtags are regularly used, your business can be a go-to spot in your local area, helping you stand out and attract more customers. For example, a bookstore in London could use hashtags like #LondonReads or #ShopLocalLondon to attract book lovers in the city. 

  1. Analyze your hashtag performance

Analyzing your hashtag performance means checking how well your hashtags are doing on social media. This is about seeing which tags get you more likes, comments, shares, and new followers. It helps you figure out what’s working and what’s not. Here’s how to keep it simple: 

  • Use tools. Many social media platforms have built-in analytics that show you how each hashtag performs. Other tools out there can give you more detailed info. 
  • Look at the numbers. Pay attention to how many people see your posts (reach), how many interact with them (engagement), and if your hashtags are bringing in customers (conversions). 
  • Learn and adjust. Use what you learn to pick better hashtags in the future. If a hashtag gets you a lot of engagement, try to use it more or find similar ones. 

For example, if you notice #HomemadeCakes gets a lot of likes for your bakery, it means people enjoy that content, so you might want to use it more or try related hashtags like #BakingFromScratch. This way, you can keep improving your social media strategy by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. 

  1. Keep an eye on competitors

Observing the hashtags your competitors use can provide valuable insights. If certain hashtags are working well for them and are relevant to your business, think about how you can use them in your own posts. 

But remember, it’s important to keep your own style and not just copy what they do. Use this information to add to your strategy, just make sure to keep your brand’s unique voice and personality in your posts. 

Make your hashtag strategy #Successful 

With just a few hashtags created with these strategies as your guide, you can effectively use hashtags to broaden your reach on social media, connect with your target audience, and strengthen your brand’s online presence. 

Speaking of boosting your online presence, Web.com has the perfect suite of online marketing tools to complement your social media strategy. Make a #SuccessfulBusiness with the right marketing plan and tools. 

  • Claire Sy

    Claire is a Content Marketing Writer at Web.com. Although she’s just started her content marketing journey, she’s eager to write compelling articles while learning more about the SEO and marketing world. Growing up, Claire had always loved reading, but she started taking an interest in writing through poetry and stories. She also likes playing chess in her spare time.

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