Updated: Aug 23
Confused about hashtags? Not any more . . .
Level Theory are a Kent based social media agency who handle all things social from content creation (think video, graphics, photo & copy) to strategy, management, training and consultancy. Having photographed my stand at the Tonbridge Food Festival 2019 (see the results of that below!), we stayed in touch and have exchanged our knowledge via a guest blog for each of our websites. You can read my article on top tips to make your business greener here and in this post, Level Theory give me the lowdown on #hashtags.
Hashtags are handy ways to group together related content on social media. On Twitter and Instagram you can quickly click on a hashtag to find reams of images and tweets relating to that topic. Adding hashtags to your own content increases your discoverability thus growing your audience and engaging with more like-minded individuals.
“Great, so I should add lots of hashtags to everything I create, right?” WRONG! Hashtags are a little more complicated than they first appear, and vary from site to site.
Several years ago Facebook, seeing the success of the hashtag on other platforms, encouraged their users to post content with hashtags at the end, but hashtags are almost completely redundant on Facebook. Adding a hashtag to your post will not increase your discoverability at all on Facebook - and may even harm your post’s performance.
“So why don’t they work on Facebook?” Because users don’t head to Facebook to search for topics of conversation, they head to their home feed and consume whatever content Facebook’s algorithm gives them. Successful social media strategies are always determined by how in touch they are with user experience and this differs from platform to platform (and unhelpfully change as fast as the weather).
“OK so no hashtags on Facebook, what about Twitter?” We’re good to go! You should include an average of 2 hashtags per Tweet on Twitter, more than this and your post can look cluttered and too generalised.
On Twitter you want to connect with specific audiences around issues they genuinely care about.
“And Instagram?” Instagram research suggests a MINIMUM of 11 hashtags, it truly is a case of ‘the more the merrier’ up until you hit their cap of 30 hashtags per post. The whole user experience on Instagram is designed around topics (or “hashtags”) so most users not only follow specific accounts but also follow hashtags which interest them such as #fashion or #food. Using multiple hashtags simply means you appear in more people’s feeds. Aim for over 11 up to the max of 30.
“How do I add 11+ hashtags to my Instagram post without it looking cluttered?”
If you leave a blank paragraph spacing on Instagram it will automatically delete it so you can’t just pop the hashtags underneath your copy.
You therefore have two options:
Option 1 - place a ‘.’ or full-stop at the start of each paragraph to stop Instagram, like this:
Or your second option is to comment on your own post with all the hashtags in one chunk. There is zero difference in terms of performance so develop your own posting style on whichever you prefer. Personally we recommend the paragraph ‘.’ style because this makes it quicker and is more user friendly if you use a third party scheduling tool, if you schedule the post without hashtags you’d have to visit the post and comment in most cases (though some scheduling tools such as buffer now let you add a comment as well).
“Anything else I need to know?”
YES! Here are our final tips:
• Don’t use the same hashtag on every single post, Instagram will pick up on this and they could throttle your appearance in organic feeds.
• Don’t just copy the most popular or trending hashtags and add them on to your post, keep hashtags RELEVANT to your content!
• There are certain hashtags which get banned by the platform, especially Instagram, so watch out for them and don’t use anything controversial
• Every day you will find a series of obscure ‘official hashtags’ relating to national days such as #nationalpieday or #internationalcoffeeweek. Don’t try to shoehorn your content into these hashtags, try to come up with content relating to holidays SPECIFICALLY appealing to your audience only. There may be global one’s you can get involved in (e.g. #InternationalWomansDay or #ClimateStrike) but look for holiday hashtags that relate more to your product and audience (e.g. if you sell coffee, you definitely want to be a part of #internationalcoffeeweek but if you sell shoes, don’t just make a lame post about ‘starting your day with a coffee for #internationalcoffeeweek’, you’ll lose credibility with your audience).
There is a never ending supply of info on hashtags but we think this article will stand you in good stead on how to use them, where and why. If you have any questions at all, we’re happy to help. Drop us a Tweet or DM @leveltheory on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or contact us via www.leveltheory.com