From #Novice to #Ninja: Your Ultimate Guide on How to Use Hashtags with Finesse
Social SEO

From #Novice to #Ninja: Your Ultimate Guide on How to Use Hashtags with Finesse

28 August, 2023
8 min read
Tamara Biljman

Welcome to the ultimate comprehensive guide on how to effectively use hashtags in social media. In the vast landscape of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok, hashtags have evolved into digital road signs that navigate your content to its desired destination.

Represented by the ubiquitous '#' symbol, hashtags have become powerful tools that shape the way we discover and engage with social media content.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take a deep dive into the world of hashtags, exploring their pivotal role in social SEO, unravelling their impact on various platforms, and unveiling advanced strategies to catapult your hashtag game to new heights.

Hashtags have become the backbone of social media marketing, offering a gateway to broader visibility and engagement. By strategically incorporating hashtags into your posts, you can transcend mere content creation and unlock the full potential of your social media presence. Whether you are seeking to increase brand awareness, drive organic traffic, or foster genuine connections with your target audience, understanding how to effectively use hashtags is paramount.

So, whether you are a seasoned social media marketing professional looking to fine-tune your hashtag strategy or a newcomer navigating the intricate world of digital marketing, this comprehensive guide is your roadmap to mastering the art of hashtags in the dynamic realm of social media. Get ready to revolutionise your social media presence and pave the way for unparalleled engagement, visibility, and connection with your audience. Let's embark on this hashtag journey together and unlock the limitless potential that awaits:

Section 1: Hashtags and Social SEO

Think of hashtags as your social media post's keywords in the social media realm.

Just as keywords optimise your content for search engines, hashtags help algorithms categorise and send your posts to the right audience.

This means that the more relevant and strategic your hashtags, the higher the chances your content reaches the eyes it was meant for.

Section 2: The Hashtag Basics

What are hashtags and how do they work?

Hashtags are your content's virtual identity. By tagging your posts with relevant hashtags, you're not only categorising them but also making them discoverable to users interested in those topics.

This simple symbol transforms your post into a beacon, guiding algorithms and users to your content.

What is '#' used for?

The '#' symbol isn't just a trend—it's a communication channel to algorithms.

When you use hashtags, you're essentially telling algorithms, "This post belongs here." This classification assists algorithms in understanding your content and displaying it to individuals actively seeking such information. 

And, to answer the question from the subtitle, to add hashtags to your posts, you need to type the “#” symbol before the words (e.g. #socialmediamanagement).

Types of hashtags: From branded to trending

A big part of answering the burning questions of how to use hashtags is knowing what types of them exist. So, let's get to it.

When coming up with a hashtag strategy, it's important to think about your social media content pillars. A good mix normally includes at least one industry-specific hashtag and related hashtags that support it.


Content Pillars: The Secret to Brand’s Social Media Success

But before we dive into the types of hashtags, remember that no matter which ones you choose, they need to be related to the content you're posting. These keywords must describe what your post is about; otherwise, you'll just create a bad user experience, and no one wants that.

Essentially, there are seven main groups of hashtags:

  1. Branded hashtags
  2. Unique hashtags
  3. Niche hashtags
  4. Trending hashtags
  5. Popular hashtags
  6. Location-based hashtags
  7. Event and holiday hashtags

Branded hashtag

These hashtags are your brand's signature. They're the digital embodiment of your campaigns, inviting customers to participate and engage. Some of the best practices include adding them to your bio next to a call to action and to your posts (especially those that promote your brand and products/services.

how-to-use-hashtags-branded-hashtags-goproSource: @gopro

Unique hashtag

Crafted for your content, unique hashtags capture its essence. They can encapsulate emotions, experiences, or stories you want to share. When creating them, make sure they're simple and easy to type, as you don't want your followers making any typos.

This type of hashtag is best used for special social media marketing campaigns, such as giveaways, contests, holidays, and cause campaigns.

how-to-use-hashtags-unique-hashtags-boorito-by-chipotleSource: #boorito campaign by Chipotle

Niche hashtag

Niche hashtags are your entry point into specific communities. They help you tap into conversations that matter to a particular audience. These hashtags are best for reaching your target audience, and they normally consist of specific industry keywords (e.g. #fitness, #kettlebells, #gymlife).

how-to-use-hashtags-niche-hashtags-kettlebell-kingsSource: @kettlebellkings

Trending hashtag

These hashtags are your passport to joining trending global conversations. By using trending hashtags, your content can be part of viral discussions, whether you're posting a TikTok Stitch, your POV Reel, or a Tweet related to the burning topic.

Popular hashtag

There's a slight but meaningful difference between trending and popular hashtags. The first ones can come and go, while the latter ones are here to stay (e.g. #MondayMotivation). They have numerous posts under them, but it's important to add them into the hashtag mix, at least to one of your content pillars, to target the wider audience.

Location-based hashtags

For location-based businesses, localised hashtags can be a game-changer. Incorporate city or region-specific hashtags to connect with a local audience interested in your offerings. This especially rings true for multi-location businesses and restaurants.


Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing [6 Tasty Examples Included]

Event and holiday hashtags

Harness the power of holidays, events, and seasons with relevant hashtags. From #SummerVibes to #ValentinesDay2024, #BlackFriday, and #MerryChristmas, seasonal and holiday hashtags resonate with users seeking timely content. Ensure to check out our holiday calendar, where we've included must-use hashtags for each one of them.

Holiday calendar by Sendible helps your create fun content for social media

Benefits of using hashtags: Why bother?

  • Boost visibility: Hashtags transform your social media content from a whisper to a shout, making it visible to a broader audience. For example, if you're rather new on a social media platform and you publish a post that's not optimised for the algorithms, you won't achieve anything. Yes, keywords can be used in captions and alt-text as well, but hashtags have a much bigger impact on the algorithms.
  • Engagement Magnet: Well-chosen hashtags inspire interactions. And, unfortunately, this doesn't have anything to do with magic. It's actually all about targeting the right audience with the right hashtag. People are simply more likely to engage with content that resonates with their interests.
  • Connect with Communities: Hashtags connect you with individuals who share your passions. It's like finding your digital tribe! One of the amazing things about hashtags is that they are clickable, so you can keep uncovering the goldmines of your community's interests and needs with every click.
  • Track Trends: Trending hashtags keep you updated on industry buzz, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve. They play a big part in social listening that allows you to stay ahead of your competition, collect new inspiration, jump on trends, and even grab some new leads and followers.
  • Amplify Brand: Branded hashtags foster a sense of community, rallying your audience around your brand's values. They help you keep track of valuable user-generated content (UGC), monitor the conversations around your business, respond quickly to burning questions, and help new users discover valuable information on your services and/or products.

Section 3: Hashtags on different platforms

Did you choose the best platforms to promote your or your client's business? Did you audit the existing performance and hashtag strategy? If not, feel free to grab our handy templates:

Oh, you did? Nice job. You're now ready to dive into optimisation. But, to do that, you first need a quick run through the specifics around hashtags on each social media platform.

Twitter hashtags - The birthplace

Benefits: Twitter hashtags are conversation starters. They're your pass to joining trending discussions and expanding your reach.

Best Practices: Optimal engagement lies in the sweet spot of 1-2 hashtags per tweet. Using too many hashtags can dilute your message.

Usage: Hashtags on Twitter aren't just add-ons; they're integral to your tweet's content. Jump into trending conversations to maximise visibility.


How to use Twitter Hashtags: The Guide to Finding and Using the Right Ones

Instagram hashtags - Visual storytelling

Benefits: This platform's visual playground thrives on hashtags. Instagram hashtags are your tools for crafting narratives, inviting engagement, and building a community.

Best Practices: Aim for a mix of 3-10 relevant hashtags per post. Blend branded, niche, and trending hashtags to enhance discoverability.

Usage: Seamlessly integrate hashtags within your captions or comments. In Instagram Stories, leverage hashtags through text and stickers to create interactive content.


Cracked: How to Use Instagram Hashtags to Grow Your Business

Facebook hashtags - Tread carefully

Benefits: While Facebook is less hashtag-centric, strategic use can amplify your post's reach. Hashtags connect you with users beyond your immediate circle.

Best Practices: Keep it succinct with 1-2 relevant hashtags per post. Choose quality over quantity.

Usage: Integrate Facebook hashtags naturally within your posts, focusing on those relevant to your audience. Remember, hashtags are most effective in public posts.


Should You Use Hashtags on Facebook? Here’s What You Need to Know

TikTok hashtags - Ride the Viral Wave

Benefits: TikTok and hashtags are a dynamic duo. They pave the way for content discovery, viral trends, and skyrocketing engagement.

Best Practices: Embrace multiple hashtags (around 5-10) to maximise visibility. Engage with trending challenges to ride the wave.

Usage: Seamlessly include hashtags in TikTok video captions. Participate in trending challenges and create content that aligns with popular hashtags.