What are Hashtags, and What’s the Best Way to Use Them?

Hashtags have become an integral part of social media, serving as a powerful tool for navigating platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As these platforms experience exponential growth, boasting user bases in the millions, the relevance and utility of the hashtag feature continue to rise. The use of hashtags makes it easier for users to sift through abundant content, find and join conversations, share opinions, and reach a broader audience.

In the midst of the ever-growing social media space, our ability to connect with friends, family, and businesses hinges on understanding and effectively using these key features. This article aims to explore the nitty-gritty of hashtags, detailing what they are, how they work, and how to use them on various platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook posts, and more.

What is a Hashtag?

Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by the pound symbol (#). The hashtag is a method to categorize content and make it easier to find on social media. Content posted with hashtags means that the post will present itself in the dedicated feed for the hashtag, which users will follow.

Additionally, anyone searching for specific content will use relevant tags and hashtags to find related content, so it’s a way to group related content and make it easy to find. Hashtags ensure that your post reaches the right people and gets the best engagement possible.

That’s why it’s crucial not just to use hashtags in social media posts but to use them strategically. You should be using hashtags that are relevant to your post while also seeking out niche hashtags where your content has the potential to be discovered and stand out.


The Hashtag Symbol

The hashtag symbol, or the pound sign (#), is a functional symbol invented by Chris Messina and used on social media as a way to mark keywords or certain topics in a post. The symbol itself is used as a method to categorize and sort posts about specific topics, and it is primarily a grouping tool.

Social media users commonly use the hashtag or pound symbol (#) to mark certain keywords or topics in a post to make it simple and easy to find related content. The hashtag symbol is used as a way for users to locate posts related to a specific topic or theme easily. Additionally, the hashtag symbol can also be used by users to join a conversation on a specific topic and to follow other conversations revolving around the subject. The hashtag symbol is used on social media platforms to make it easy for users to find relevant conversations and stay updated with the latest news and information.

The hashtag symbol can be used to create and join in on trending topics, allowing users to have their voices heard in the larger conversation.

We’re going to show you how to elevate your business using several social media platforms. This video about how to use hashtags to go viral on YouTube shorts offers another fresh take on the strategy, so be sure to check it out after reading the article.

Why You Should Use Hashtags

Hashtags can be beneficial for social media use, especially if you use hashtags correctly. Here are some reasons why your social media posts should use the right hashtags to ensure users searching for content related to yours can easily find and engage with your social media.

Maximizing Your Reach

One of the primary reasons why popular social media sites have included hashtag functionality is to help users maximize their research and have users engage more with a conversation or topic.

Using relevant hashtags is the key to maximizing your reach on social media. Effective social media advertising should include hashtags, as they are a great way to increase popularity and increase engagement if used wisely. You can also use popular hashtags to reach a larger audience, but make sure you don’t overdo it.

Make your content discoverable

Many people use hashtags to understand trending topics and the surrounding conversation. Using hashtags means that your content becomes discoverable and is more likely to be seen by people on social media.

Hashtags allow users to search for specific topics and conversations, making staying up to date with trending topics easier. The hashtag enables easy content organization and is useful for grouping conversations about a topic in one place on a social network

Increase your followers

Hashtags are also useful as a method to gain followers and engagement. Specific hashtags, such as branded hashtags, can also be used to create brand awareness and reach a wider audience for marketing. Popular hashtags can be used to join and sustain a conversation with other users who are interested in the same topic and create a following. Users interested in specific topics can search and find related accounts using the hashtag and follow and engage with them.

Make your content relevant

Hashtagged keyword usage ensures that users can quickly understand what your content is about, and helps establish its relevance. Many users follow hashtags to keep track of trending conversations and topics, which is why it’s so important to be strategic when you find hashtags for your content.

Popular hashtags are a great way to make content related to a specific topic or idea become more visible on social media. You can use hashtags on social media posts, such as a tweet or an Instagram post so that users can understand your content. Hashtags are used to search for content, which is why they are crucial for engagement and increasing the reach of the content. Using hashtags is the best way to appear in search bar results when users look for those specific keywords. They are also useful for tracking conversations and topics that are popular at any given time to stay up to date on the latest trends and news.

Build a community

Hashtags can be a great way to stay connected with your audience, providing updates on products and services and engaging with them on a more personal level. Using hashtags is. way to build a community with your followers and have a more meaningful connection. Whether your posts consist of videos, static text, or photos, hashtags make it easy to search for your content and encourage people to join your community.

Facebook Hashtags

Facebook posts can include hashtags and are helpful in many ways. Hashtags on Facebook can be used to categorize posts and make it easier for users to find related content. You can include the most popular hashtags related to your topic in posts. You can add words or phrases preceded by the “#” symbol on Facebook to make it easier for users to find your content on the platform when they look for that hashtag.

How to Find Facebook Hashtags

You can find hashtags on Facebook by searching for a word or phrase through the search bar. The results will show you the accounts and the post containing the hashtag, and you can see related hashtags as well. Search is the easiest way to find hashtags that are gaining popularity for your topic, and seeing posts containing the most popular hashtags gives you a steer on what to use for your posts.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Facebook?

There really isn’t a limit to how many hashtags you can use, but they should be related to your content. You can add a hashtag word or phrase to categorize and mark posts for visibility on Facebook, which are usually added to the bottom of the post. Hashtags can draw attention to topics or conversations relevant to the Facebook post by using the most popular hashtags related to the topic, as they will appear in feeds when users search for that topic.

Hashtags are an efficient way to categorize and share content on Facebook. By using popular hashtags on Facebook posts, users can increase the reach of their content. Hashtags can even be used to join in on conversations already happening, allowing users to stay up-to-date on the topics and conversations that are trending.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Facebook

YouTube Hashtags

YouTube hashtags are used in the description of videos to tag the content and make it easier to search. You can use the hash symbol followed by a word or phrase in your video description, which will instantly group and categorize the content with other related content.

How to Find YouTube Hashtags

The best way to find Youtube hashtags is to look at the wider industry and accounts that are similar to what you post (I.e., competitors). Look at their descriptions under the video content to see what hashtags they use, and once you click on the hashtag, you will see other accounts and users appear.

This will give you an example of the types of tags users have on their videos and what users search for when selecting what hashtag to use.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on YouTube?

Think of hashtags as a way to tag your videos and mark their broader category. That way, when users search for that word, they should be able to quickly understand what your content is about and how it relates to what they searched for. You can use as many hashtags as you want, but it’s best to limit them to 5-6 that are most relevant to what you are posting about.

Pinterest Hashtags

Pinterest Hashtags

Pinterest has increased in popularity for many since it’s very visual, and businesses can amass followers relatively quickly on the platform. You can add hashtags to a Pinterest post to increase its relevance and make it easy to find for users.

How to Find Pinterest Hashtags

One of the top hashtag tips for Pinterest is to sort through the tags tab and find branded hashtags and related hashtags to your content. You can search for visuals that are similar to yours, for example, by using a broad keyword and looking at the posts that come up. The description will usually include a few relevant hashtags, and you can use the same hashtag on your posts to make your content easier to find.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Pinterest?

With visual platforms like Pinterest, you can use hashtags on a larger scale to make your content discoverable. For example, you could use a mix of branded hashtags and use hashtags for general words and terms on a single post to market your brand while also contributing to the larger conversation.

Instagram Hashtags

Instagram hashtags tend to be a very competitive space, so it’s important to have a strategy in place for your posts. You want to include hashtags on Instagram that are niche and relevant to your Instagram post while also ensuring that your content shows up when users search for relevant key terms.

How to Find Instagram Hashtags

The best way to find the most popular Instagram hashtags is to use the Explore feed on Instagram. You’ll see trending Instagram hashtags on the top of the feed, including the most popular hashtags on Instagram at the moment.

You can also use the search function on Instagram to find certain hashtags related to your topic to include in your posts. Instagram enables users to follow hashtags easily, so related content appears in user feeds. You can follow the most popular Instagram hashtags to keep up to date on trends.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Instagram?

When thinking about Instagram posts, it’s important to include the most popular Instagram hashtags related to your content. Unlike Twitter, Instagram encourages as many hashtags as possible as part of Instagram posts. So the key is to balance the most popular Instagram hashtags related to your content while also going for some less popular Instagram hashtags to ensure your post doesn’t get missed.

Twitter Hashtags

Twitter is one of the main platforms that popularized the usage of hashtags and brought it to the wider industry. Twitter users frequently use hashtags to learn about trending news, particular event, conversations, and tweets, so hashtags play a vital role for Twitter users.

How to Find Twitter Hashtags

You can see trending hashtags on the main Twitter page, and you can also search for specific hashtags. You’ll see tweets from public accounts in Twitter search results, and you can use that as part of your Twitter social media strategy.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Twitter?

One of the main hashtag tips for Twitter is to use them strategically. If you’re not sure how to make money on Twitter, using 1-3 particular hashtags options related to your content can make a significant difference in the engagement and reach your tweet will see.

TikTok Hashtags

If you’re wondering how to get more TikTok likes and how to get more followers on TikTok, it’s all about your hashtag usage. TikTok users rely on hashtags as a primary way to find content and the TikTok algorithm prioritizes content that uses trending hashtags. The TikTok algorithm is also designed to show users content related to the hashtags they have searched or have expressed interest in as part of the feed.

How to Find TikTok Hashtags

You can find TikTok hashtags by looking at the main feed, which shows TikTok trends if you’re looking for general hashtag options. In addition, you can use the search bar to find specific hashtags related to your content.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on TikTok?

As you’ll notice with other hashtag tips, while there is no limit to how many hashtags you can use, it’s usually best to use a mix of trending and niche hashtags for TikTok. You can include up to 4-6 hashtags or more as part of your post in the caption section.

Linkedin Hashtags

LinkedIn influencers have increasingly started to use hashtags as part of their broader content marketing strategy. Many LinkedIn posts, short-form, and long-form, generally tend to include at least 2-3 hashtags at the bottom of the post or even a few more.

How to Find LinkedIn Hashtags

You can look at other content on your feed to identify the best hashtags for your posts based on your industry. Like Instagram hashtags and other social media platforms, you can also use the search function to see what hashtag is best for your posts.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Linkedin?

Ideally, you should limit your hashtag use to 3-4 of the most relevant words to make it easy to find your posts. You can include your selected hashtag at the bottom of your LinkedIn post to make it easy to categorize with other related content.

How to Use Hashtags for Your Small Business

As you can see, using hashtags effectively can greatly enhance your small business’s social media presence. It helps you connect with your target audience, broaden your reach, and build your brand.

Before we explore the list below for how to use hashtags for your small business, here is a summary table of the steps for quick and easy reference:

1Identify Your Business Type: Understand your industry and target audience to select the appropriate hashtags related to your business.
2Generate Related Keywords: Think of words or phrases related to your business that people might search for on social media.
3Use Social Media Management Tools: Utilize tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social to suggest popular and trending hashtags based on your industry and keywords.
4Consider a Hashtag Marketing Course: Enroll in a course that offers guidance on effective hashtag marketing strategies if you're new to this realm.
5Create a Hashtag Strategy: Develop a comprehensive strategy detailing when and how to use different hashtags for maximum engagement.
6Use Industry-Specific Hashtags: Incorporate hashtags specific to your industry to make your content discoverable to people interested in your field.
7Incorporate Trending Hashtags: Include relevant trending hashtags in your posts to increase visibility, but make sure they align with your content and brand.
8Monitor Hashtag Performance: Track the performance of your hashtags through social media analytics to understand which ones drive the most engagement.

Here is a detailed guide on how to use hashtags for your small business:

  1. Identify Your Business Type: The first step in using hashtags effectively is to think about your business type. What industry do you belong to? Who are your target audience? These considerations will help you identify the appropriate hashtags related to your business.
  2. Generate Related Keywords: Consider what words or phrases someone might search for when trying to find content related to your business on social media. These words or phrases could be related to your products, services, or your industry in general. They can serve as a base for your hashtag strategy.
  3. Use Social Media Management Tools: There are numerous social media management tools and apps available that can help you with your hashtag strategy. These tools can suggest popular and trending hashtags based on your industry and keywords. Some of these tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
  4. Consider a Hashtag Marketing Course: If you’re new to social media marketing, consider enrolling in social media marketing courses. Many online platforms offer comprehensive courses that can guide you on how to effectively use hashtags in your marketing strategy.
  5. Create a Hashtag Strategy: Based on your industry, target audience, and identified keywords, create a larger hashtag strategy. This strategy should detail when and how to use different hashtags for maximum engagement.
  6. Use Industry-Specific Hashtags: Make sure to include hashtags that are specific to your industry. These can help your content be found by people interested in your industry even if they don’t follow you.
  7. Incorporate Trending Hashtags: If there are trending hashtags that relate to your business, incorporate them into your posts. However, ensure the trending hashtag is relevant to your post and your brand to avoid looking spammy.
  8. Monitor Hashtag Performance: Use the analytics features available on social media platforms to track the performance of your posts with various hashtags. This will help you understand which hashtags are driving the most engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly.

By following these steps, you can optimize your use of hashtags and boost the visibility and reach of your small business on social media platforms. Remember, the aim is to use hashtags to engage your target audience and gain visibility among potential customers, not just to trend or go viral.

How to Find the Best Hashtags

You can find the best hashtags by going through platforms individually and using their search function. Some platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, make it easy to find trending topics through hashtags, while others, like Facebook, may require you to use the search function to find suitable options for your posts.

Search for related hashtags

You can use the search function on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to find hashtag options related to your content. You can see that hashtag usage is common for content similar to yours and adopt similar ones in your tweet or post moving forward. Note that only a public account that uses the hashtag will appear in the search results.

Look for trending hashtags

Many platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok make it easy to find and identify trending hashtags. You can usually find trending hashtag topics on the home page of websites like Twitter or the Explore feed on Instagram and TikTok. Clicking on the hashtag will show you content that includes those words.

Use a business hashtags app

If you’re not sure how to find the best Instagram hashtags or the best Twitter hashtags to include in your Tweets, using a dedicated business hashtag app can help. It can show you the best Instagram hashtags related to your content and trending topics on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook so that the selection process for what hashtag to include is easier.

Come Up with a Hashtag Strategy for Your Business

How to find a hashtag - woman searching on a mac

A hashtag strategy ensures your content has the desired reach and engagement. In addition, a hashtag strategy identifies the best keywords to include in your posts based on competitor content, trends, and other metrics.

The strategy will differ based on the platform and its unique nuances, but for example, you can identify the best Instagram hashtags for your content and use a mixture of them in your posts to drive awareness and reach. Likewise, you can use a hashtag strategy as part of your Twitter content and ensure that your tweets have related keywords to make it easy for users to discover your content.

Image: Envato Elements, Depositphotos

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Myra Nizami Myra Nizami is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and researcher with a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's from Kings College London.