When it comes to promoting your brand on social media, hashtags are a great way to increase engagement and drive brand awareness. Also known as the pound sign (#), the hashtag is very effective in making your content discoverable to a captive audience.

Hashtags were first widely used on Twitter (now X), but they have become commonplace on other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, or ‘tags’ on the newcomer Threads. On many platforms, hashtags now act as a search engine for users to find information and ask questions.

Mastering the hashtag gives you a powerful way to engage your audience and increase your social impact at no cost other than the time it takes to do some research and pay attention to trends.

Used correctly, hashtags give context to your social posts, help people interested in your topic find your brand, and help expand your influence and followers.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or keyword phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#). It’s used within a post on social media to help those who may be interested in your topic to be able to find it when they search for a keyword or particular hashtag. It helps to draw attention to your posts and encourage interaction.

For example, if you’re a local deli or store, you could use #sandwich or #foodie when you post a photo of that lunch you really liked!

What Do You Do with Hashtags?

When using a phrase as a hashtag, you spell it out without spaces, such as #usinghashtags. It can include numbers but not symbols or punctuation.

The hashtag can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of your social media post or comment, and it allows what you have written to be indexed by the social media network. With this strategy, people who are not your fans or followers can still find your content.

If you need some guidance on how to research keywords to feed into your hashtags, check out our infographic for five easy steps.

Why are Hashtags Important?

Hashtags are important on social media as they enable your content to be found by the right people. Using relevant hashtags helps give context to your content and drives traffic so that you can boost views, likes, and shares. The key is finding the right hashtags that match your content and appeal to users.

How to Find Effective Hashtags: Start with Influencers

There is a fine line between hashtags that are too general and those that are too complicated or obscure. A good way to determine which hashtags are effective is to pay attention to the hashtags used by influencers in your field.

You probably already have a good idea of who the influencers are capturing the attention of your audience, but if you’re completely new to a field, how do you find them?

For a particular niche, influencers are individuals whose voices are most trusted and listened to, such as celebrities, renowned bloggers, and YouTube personalities. There are also numerous B2B influencers you can utilize to make a marketing impact; just ensure they’re relevant to your business.

An excellent tool you can use to identify influencers is BuzzSumo. By using this tool, you can discover top-notch content, bloggers, publications, and writers in your niche. Follow the top influencers and pay attention to the hashtags they regularly use to connect with relevant keywords and trends. Here are three tools we’ve highlighted as the best this year for researching hashtags:

RiteTag provides instant hashtag suggestions in real-time engagement.

Hashtagify.me is a tool that allows you to search for the popularity and trends of hashtags.

Keyhole provides you with a free search function and gives you real-time data on various factors.

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Using hashtags on Instagram can increase reach and engagement. So feel free to use up to ten or eleven relevant and popular hashtags for Instagram Stories or Reels to reach a wider audience. A combination of different types of hashtags works well on Instagram, such as popular hashtags, location hashtags, niche hashtags, content-related hashtags, and branded hashtags.

You can use up to 30 hashtags in a regular Instagram post. You probably don’t need that many, but it’s good to know that using more is acceptable here, so you can experiment.

Take a look at this example to get an idea of what type of hashtag could work.

How to Design a Hashtag Strategy

Choose specific hashtags whenever possible, as the more specific you can be, the greater the likelihood of attracting a targeted audience. Use capital letters at the beginning of each word, although not mandatory, to provide context to your post and demonstrate what you are trying to communicate.

Your competition is likely already using hashtags in their social media strategy. How successful are they at engaging our mutual audience? Pay attention to how much or how little they use hashtags and what the response is. There are no definitive answers when it comes to which hashtags to use or how to approach your strategy.

A successful hashtag strategy starts with understanding your audience and dedicating time to familiarize yourself with what works on each platform. Furthermore, you will continue to learn what works (and what doesn’t) by using hashtags as part of your social media strategy and analyzing the results.

Hashtags are an excellent tool for communicating with your followers as well as increasing engagement and attracting new customers.