Looking for a beginner’s guide to hashtags on social media? This will break down everything you need to know. After all, hashtags are confusing. In part, because the use of hashtags changes depending on the platform that you’re on. I’m going to provide an easy, no-nonsense guide to how you’ll want to use your hashtags on the various platforms. 

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Instagram

If you’re only going to learn about hashtags for one platform, do it for Instagram. It makes a big difference in how many people see your posts and you can add a ton of hashtags without making your post look cluttered. 

How many hashtags to use

For Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags for a post. The best practice is to aim for around 15-20 but you can use more. I won’t be talking about hashtags in stories for this section, but you can also use a few hashtags there if you are doing Instagram stories.

Where to put hashtags on social media

You’ll want to hide the hashtags though. You can do that in two different ways: a comment or your caption. 

Which you pick will sometimes depend on what your scheduling platform allows. SOCi and Hootesuite only allow for caption hashtags. Here’s how you would do that. 

Write your caption here. Caption. Caption. 

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#hashtags #hashtags #hashtags

The reason you format things like above is so that the hashtags will be hidden. Hashtags aren’t the prettiest thing to look at (especially when you can have up to 30). It can be distracting from your caption so you want to hide it. 

If you have a platform like Sprout or Sendible, you can put hashtags in the first comment on the post. It will follow a similar pattern. You’ll write your caption like normal and then where you have the option for the first comment, you’ll put:

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#hashtags #hashtags #hashtags

Which hashtags to use

It’s best to start with a group of hashtags that you use on every post. It will make your life easier to just have one block that you can copy and paste. For instance, I might always want to use #socialmediamarketer because that’s my job. 

You can also add hashtags that are related to what you’re posting. For instance, if I post a photo of my dog, I might want to use the hashtag #westiesofinstagram. I wouldn’t use that on all my posts though, just the ones that make sense. 

If you’re wondering how to find hashtags that work, just go straight to Instagram to search hashtags. You can start typing something like #marketing and then see what else shows up. Try to find hashtags with different sizes too. If a hashtag has 1 million posts but you only have 100 followers, you probably won’t get noticed in that group. Test out different group sizes with your hashtags to see what works best. 

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Twitter

Hashtags on Twitter aren’t as required as they are on Instagram but you can find some good ways to use them. 

How many hashtags to use

Only use between one and three hashtags on Twitter. You have to be more strategic about your Twitter hashtags so you won’t be pasting a block of 30 hashtags, that would use up all the text that you have available in a tweet. 

Where to put hashtags on social media

You have some flexibility with hashtags on Twitter. You can weave them into the caption itself or just add them to the end of the caption. You don’t need to hide the hashtags like you do on Instagram. 

Here’s an example:

I heard about a new #socialmedia platform called Clubhouse. Anyone know about it? #ClubhouseApp

In the above, I combined the words social and media to make a hashtag right in the middle of my sentence. That makes it a more searchable term. However, if I was tweeting about marketing, I wouldn’t need to do #marketing. It’s only one word so it’s already searchable as that word. You can still make it a hashtag if you want, but it’s not necessary. 

As for the hashtag at the end, that’s another way that you can use hashtags. Notice, I already said Clubhouse in the tweet but that could mean a few different things. I want to make sure people know I’m talking about a new app. I even looked on Twitter to see what the commonly used hashtag is for this new app. That’s how I found #ClubhouseApp. I could have used that hashtag in the middle of my sentence but instead, I decided to add it to the end. 

Which hashtags to use

If you want to Tweet about something specific, you can always search on Twitter to see what hashtags are popular. For instance, you might want to Tweet about New Year’s Eve. Would you use #NYE, #NewYearsEve, or #NewYear2021? There are plenty of options. It just depends on what the majority of people are using. You’ll want to go search on Twitter to see what’s most popular. 

Trending hashtags are always a good place to look too. The above example would probably have a trending version since so many people would Tweet about that. However, there might also be a fun trend going on that you wouldn’t know about without checking Twitter. 

Not to get into politics, but right now, #Fweedom is trending on Twitter because of something Vice President-Elect Harris said. Yes, with that spelling. If your account normally talks about politics or could make a fun joke related to #Fweedom, you might want to use that hashtag. 

The key about trending hashtags is that you have to use them right away. You can’t schedule something out with those. #Fweedom might be gone tomorrow. 

Facebook

While Facebook owns Instagram, its hashtag policies couldn’t be more different. In fact, I advocate against using hashtags on Facebook at all. However, Facebook has, in recent months, talked about wanting to make hashtags more popular on the platform. It’s something to watch but we aren’t there quite yet. 

How many hashtags to use

None. At least, that’s how I feel. As I said, Facebook is trying to make hashtags happen but it hasn’t really taken off yet. If you feel so inclined, try to use 1-8 hashtags just to test it out. 

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Where to put hashtags on social media

I’ve seen a lot of people do the caption hiding method that is used for Instagram on Facebook. They aren’t doing it for a strategic reason really, it just means that you only have to schedule out one post instead of multiple versions for Facebook and Instagram. I’m not going to fault that because I get that people are busy and might not have time to make a whole separate post but I think it’s worth looking at each platform as a separate entity. 

I would recommend adding some lines to your post (you don’t need to do the periods like on Instagram) and putting your few hashtags two lines below your caption. 

Which hashtags to use

Again, I don’t recommend using hashtags here but if you’re going to, you might as well make them good hashtags. 

You can try searching on Facebook to see what’s commonly used. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve seen it used on Instagram or Twitter, it will probably be used on Facebook too. 

Google My Business

I’m going to make this one super easy. Don’t use hashtags. It won’t hurt anything but there’s really no sign that Google wants you to use hashtags or encourages them. Just don’t do it. 

LinkedIn

People tend to forget about LinkedIn and that’s especially true when it comes to hashtags. However, they are commonly used. You can even set up three hashtags that you want your company page to follow so that you can always engage with those hashtags. 

How many hashtags to use

I’d say only use about 3-5 hashtags on LinkedIn. There are no limits to how many you use, but it gets kind of distracting and cluttered if you use too many. The best practice is to just use a handful.

Where to put hashtags on social media

The easiest place to put them on LinkedIn is at the end of the caption. I typically add a few extra lines and then put the hashtags there so it’s separate from the caption itself. 

Which hashtags to use

Try to think about what hashtags your ideal clients might be following or what’s common for your industry. For instance, I probably want to use #socialmedia or #socialmediamarketing. However, I may also want to use #smallbusiness because it’s possible that small business owners that I’m trying to reach, will be looking at that hashtag. 

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Conclusion

Now, that should guide you through how to use hashtags. I know there are other social platforms but these are the most common ones used by my clients which is why I wanted to cover these. If you’re interested in Pinterest, read my previous blog about that.

Hopefully, this helps with your hashtags on social media strategy. If you need more assistance, check out my downloadable freebie about how to form an Instagram hashtags strategy. It has some of the same information as above but helps you more strategically decide which hashtags to use. 

Instagram Hashtag Strategy Freebie