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5 Ways You Can Leverage Hashtags for Your Socials in 2022

Tricia Lim

Tricia Lim

Tricia Lim

Tricia Lim

how to leverage hashtags for your socials blog graphic

What’s one of the most effective ways to get more reach and engagement for your social media posts? Well, it’s got to be hashtags. Once you get the hang of how they work, you’ll be able to leverage its benefits and see results come pouring in.

Table of Contents

What is a hashtag and how do they work?

1. Increase exposure and content discoverability

One of the biggest factors for using hashtags on social media is to increase brand exposure and content discoverability. When users click on a hashtag, it leads them to a gallery of all the top and recent posts, plus, reels that used that hashtag. From there you’re able to explore all the related posts, so it makes it easy for people who are interested in a certain topic to find more accounts to follow. Moreover, with the option to follow hashtags, users can keep up with the top posts each week and find others they’re interested in. 

In essence, hashtags are good for overall brand exposure as it helps your target audience find you.

2. Increase engagement and encourage audience interactions

Hashtags, when used right, can serve as another form of engagement too. Think of them as a way to reach and engage your audience. 

Including hashtags in your posts also means you can take part in a conversation happening on that social media platform. It helps to elevate your brand presence and make your posts visible in those conversations. This can lead to greater engagement, boosting your brand’s social media engagement through likes, shares, comments, and new followers.

3. Build brand awareness using branded hashtags

If your brand is looking to promote your business and drive conversations, creating a branded hashtag can be an effective start to doing that. These can be as simple as using your brand name or incorporating a tagline into a hashtag. 

For example, this is how we do ours: #MedianeticHelpfulBites.  

Another example is #PlayInside, a hashtag Nike Los Angeles made during the pandemic when people were stuck indoors.

4. Help to add context to a social media post

When you have limited real estate space in your captions, brands and creators have to be strategic in writing their captions. For context, Twitter only gives users a 280 character limit and Instagram gives you 125 characters before it’s truncated. 

Longer captions aren’t necessarily the most effective. Sometimes less is more. Hence, using a hashtag can be a simple way to give your audience context to what you’re talking about without having to use up valuable characters in your captions.

5. Content research

Similar to conducting keyword research for SEO, hashtags can help you in the content creation process. It acts as a guide to know which keywords, or in this case, hashtags, to pursue and which to avoid. This is where the search results page comes in handy. Here you can find inspiration from the top posts with the same hashtag. Use them as a guide alongside these prompts:

  • What seems to work for similar brands? 
  • Is there a certain style or caption that’s trending now? 
  • How can this hashtag supplement your content to serve your audience? 

Types of hashtags

  1. Location – used for places, neighborhoods, cities, and countries 
  2. Branded & product – campaigns, events, your brand, and product
  3. Industry – your business niche, i.e #DigitalMarketerLife
  4. Community – a specific group of people #DogsOfInstagram
  5. Descriptive – the content of your post i.e #InstagramTips
  6. Daily – they typically start with the day of the week, followed by the topic. For example, #ThrowbackThursday 
  7. Trending – involves keeping tabs with the latest trends and knowing how to apply the context to your brand

5 best practices for using hashtags

1. Using the optimal number of hashtags

How many hashtags should you use on your posts? Instagram advised creators that the optimal number of hashtags per post is between 3-5 hashtags, despite allowing up to 30 per post. This is because the platform has started to introduce more “suggested” content feeds, which requires more accurate categorization of content and lesser hashtags. However, according to Later’s finding from 18M+ Instagram feed posts, they found that using more hashtags yielded better reach results. 

later media chart of hashtag reach over 2020 and 2021

Source: Later

So if you’re looking to increase your reach and engagement on Instagram feed posts, then the strategy is to use more hashtags. But, as we keep a close eye on Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, hyper-relevant hashtags might be a tactic worth testing which leads us to our next point.

2. Be strategic with where you place your hashtag

Hashtags are effective in both your caption and the comments section, so it’s up to you where you want to share them. Do note that having too many hashtags in a caption can overwhelm your caption space and make it look messy. 

One way to keep it minimal is to move them into your comments section. If you’re manually posting these in your comments, you’ll want to do it as soon as the post is published. Remember that the key is to be timely. When you use scheduling tools like Later or Sprout Social, you can schedule a ‘first comment’ to go live at the same time as your post. 

This helps you to keep your caption tidy while still benefiting from all the exposure benefits of having the right hashtag strategy.

3. Use a hashtag suggestion tool

Now that you know how many hashtags to add to your post, how do you find these many relevant hashtags for your posts? One suggestion is to use a hashtag suggestion tool like Keyword Tool, Later, Sprout Social, or Hootsuite

hashtag suggestions from Later

Source: Later

For example, with Later’s hashtag suggestion tool, you can find hashtags based on the content of your post and other hashtags in your industry.

4. Conduct research on the app's explore page

Another source of inspiration for your hashtag strategy is from the app’s explore page! It works for Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and more. 

marketing tips hashtag search results example screenshot
Instagram hashtag search results example screenshot

On the Instagram search results page, you’ll see the posts in three categories: top, recent, and reels. These are helpful for finding inspiration from posts that are performing well, keeping up to date with current trends, and of course, making the most of hashtags to boost your Reels. 

5. Check the hashtag volume

Think of post volume as an important hashtag metric. If a hashtag has already been used on millions of posts, what are the chances that your post will stand out from the masses? On the flip side, if a hashtag only has a few hundred posts, it’s likely that not many people will search for it on the Explore page. This advice also came from Instagram who said that these hashtags will make it harder for people to discover your content due to the volume of other people using the hashtags. The best rule of thumb is to aim for hashtags between 10K-200K posts. 

Wrap up

With the overload of information and content these days, brands need to know how to cut through the noise to reach their target audience. Knowing how to leverage your hashtag marketing strategies can help your audience find you, but also curate content based on themes that are relevant to them. If you’re looking to boost your reach, hashtags are the way to go. 

Remember to bookmark this post for when you need to develop, implement, or revamp your hashtag strategy next.

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