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The hashtag hype by platform

As a self-proclaimed social media maven, I love learning and teaching others about the interworking of social platforms, their various features and relevant tools. Today I’d like to delve into a topic I’m asked about frequently — hashtags.

While you’re most likely familiar with the #hashtag, you may not be entirely certain how to use them across the vast array of social platforms you’re on.

The Basics

Did you know the first hashtag ever was tweeted in 2007? For the next couple of years, hashtags were solely defined as Twitter groupings. More than 10 years later, hashtags aren’t limited to Twitter anymore. Across your favorite social platforms hashtags transform a word or group of words preceded by the pound sign into a searchable link. The links pull and sort content that’s tagged with the same hashtag, thus allowing a seamless and global conversation.

How to Use

You can use hashtags that have already been used before or create your own for a specific business, product, campaign, or event. If you do create your own hashtag around your brand, be sure to encourage your audience to use the hashtag when they interact with you or post about you. I strongly recommend doing solid research on your hashtags before implementing.

Hashtag rules vary from platform to platform, but the good news is there is plenty of data to demonstrate how to use them correctly. Without further adieu, here is how to properly leverage hashtags across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Twitter

The OG of hashtags, studies show that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without, so if you’re not using hashtags on Twitter, you need to be! As long as your profile is set to public, people will be able to access the posts utilizing hashtags. While engagement goes up in posts with hashtags, it’s recommended you limit yourself to TWO hashtags per tweet as engagement drops sharply for tweets with more.

Facebook

The majority of profiles on Facebook have restricted privacy settings, so the scope of the conversation around a particular hashtag is certainly more limited. Typically, trending hashtags on Facebook will belong solely to influencers or brands. This does not mean hashtags are irrelevant on Facebook. In fact, when you consider that Facebook handles 1.5 billion searches every day, indexing topics by hashtag is pretty important if you want your content to be easier to locate. With that being said, if you’re going to use a strategic hashtag, keep it to one single hashtag preferably and two at most.

Instagram

Instagram hashtags collate photos into one stream so that users can easily find similar content. You can also use hashtags in your Instagram story.

When used properly, the hashtag can and will grow your Instagram following AND engagement. While you can include up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram post and 10 in your story, in reality you shouldn’t be using that many. While there isn’t one agreed-upon magic number, the most recent study shows the best engagement comes from using nine hashtags.

Pinterest

Pinterest does support hashtags in Pin descriptions and on boards. In addition, you can search for specific hashtags just like on other platforms. Pinterest recommends using no more than 20 hashtags per pin.

YouTube

YouTube finally added hashtag support in a discrete 2016 update. You can add hashtags to your videos to collate them and search for videos tagged with specific hashtags. Again, two or three hashtags in your content are plenty. Google will ignore all of your hashtags if you use more than 15.

Now that you know the guidelines for using hashtags on each of your favorite social platforms, take your hashtag strategy up a notch and grow your engagement! #winning

Chloé Gee works as Director of Timelines at T&S Online Marketing, a digital marketing firm in the Oklahoma City metro area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in strategic communications with a minor in leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Gee joined the International Association of Business Communicators Central Oklahoma chapter in the fall of 2015 and volunteered to serve on the board of directors shortly after becoming a member. She has previously served as VP of Finance for the chapter, and is currently serving as both Bronze Quill Chair and President-Elect.

In her free time she enjoys photography, traveling, experiencing all forms of art, relaxing with family and going on adventures with her yellow lab, Khaleesi.

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