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Hashtags 101

How to Use Them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

For many years the hashtag symbol (#) was simply called the pound symbol. We used it to signify numbers and annoyingly pressed its button to enter information into our phones while waiting to speak with customer service.

Today, hashtags infiltrate every social network and are an essential part of digital marketing strategy. They help you reach new followers, inspire discussions, and even spark social movements, as we’ve recently seen with #MeToo.

Hashtags matter and using them should not be an afterthought. Did you know that using more than two hashtags in a Tweet can negatively affect your engagement? But on Instagram, you can use up to 10 hashtags before you see a dip in engagement. Let’s explore why and how they work on some of your favorite social media platforms.

But before we dive in, here are a few quick tips...

  • Use hashtags anywhere in your social media posts: the beginning, end, or anywhere in between
  • Hashtags tie public conversations from all different users into a single stream, which you can find by searching for a hashtag or clicking on one
  • Hashtags are often used to unite conversations around things like:
    • Events or conferences, like #Olympics2018 or #BasicTraining18
    • Disasters or emergencies, like #SandyHook or #PrayForHouston
    • Holidays or celebrations, like #VeteransDay or #NationalDonutDay
    • Popular hashtags, like #tbt or #MotivationMonday
    • Local awareness, like #ilovetexas or #Vermont
    • Your State ARNG. Be sure to use #(Your two-letter State abbreviation)NG.
    • User generated content (UGC) campaigns. Tell your followers to use a hashtag that you make up and track the discussion (e.g., “Did you survive #ARNGBasicTraining18?).
Using Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram hashtags are an effective way to get more followers and increase your engagement. The platform now allows you to follow hashtags, which means that instead of a user needing to search for an Instagram hashtag and scroll through an endless feed to find your content, your posts will now show up in the feeds as “suggested posts” of potential new followers. Be sure to choose relevant hashtags and those that describe your account or mission. We recommend saving a few lists of hashtags to paste at the end of posts in order to save you time. Finally, you can also add hashtags to your Instagram Stories in two different ways. Once is by using the hashtag sticker, and the other is by using the text tool and simply writing-out your hashtags.

Using Hashtags on Facebook

To use a hashtag on Facebook, simply publish a Facebook post to your Page or timeline that includes the hashtag. To search for hashtags on the platform, you can either type one into the search bar or type it directly in a URL like “www.facebook.com/hashtag/MotivationMonday.”

Using Hashtags on Twitter

Twitter is actually the birthplace of social media hashtags and Tweet conversations from different users are tied into a single stream on the platform. You can go about finding hashtags in a few ways on Twitter: a simple search, an advanced search, or typing it directly into the URL like “www.twitter.com/hashtag/armynationalguard.”