Hashtags, they may seem like a social media staple similar to your favorite LBD or your go-to concealer but did you know they serve a different purpose on each platform? You may also be surprised to find that hashtags aren’t just for gaining more likes on your most-recent Instagram post! Although that’s one useful function for these powerful little pound signs, hashtags can mean SO much more!
Keep reading to discover exactly how hashtags work differently across social platforms and how you can find the right hashtag for YOUR brand!
For comparisons sake, let’s use ban.do's current hashtag campaign, #omgbandoagenda for the release of their 2017 agendas. Why ban.do, you ask? Well, we just can’t help ourselves! Their branded pink is of course a favorite of mine (all the pink please!) and their social strategy for this launch has been on point!
How They Work
For those of you curious, YES hashtags do work on Facebook meaning that they are clickable and searchable! Go ahead, test it out for yourself! Click on #omgbandoagenda from the above post and you will be taken to the Facebook specific hashtag hub for all things ban.do + agenda!
One thing to note is that only public posts will populate under hashtag hubs but not to worry for all you Facebook Page owners, your Pages are already public! Content will filter automatically as “Top Posts”, meaning the higher the engagement per post, the more likely your post will appear toward the top of the feed. The higher your placement on the feed, the more likely your post will be seen!
As a page owner, you should also be aware that the Facebook algorithm views posts containing hashtags as content that was scheduled or shared using a third party site (i.e. Buffer or Hootesuite) and they don’t like that! Facebook wants you to use the native platform as much as possible so if you do use a hashtag, just know that your potential reach may be reduced as opposed to when you are not using a hashtag.
Hashtags work on Facebook but you will want to be strategic when you use them!
Only use hashtags in your Facebook posts if you are trying to generate the buzz around your branded or campaign-specific hashtag!
Need help coming up with the perfect branded hashtag for you? We have you covered with this online course! How to Develop a Successful Hashtag Strategy!
How They Work
Twitter is the OG for hashtags! In fact the first ever hashtag “used” in social media was wayyy back in 2007 when Chris Messina Tweeted suggesting hashtags be used to group Twitter content and conversation. (Lifehack) To this day, hashtags are still used in the original intent on Twitter to link similar topics and conversations under a content hub.
Hashtags on Twitter are searchable, clickable, and you can even use them in your bio to show up under search results! These search results will only show Tweets from public accounts like Facebook and will first be categorized based on their popularity.
As you likely know, Twitter has a max character count of 140 per Tweet so you will want to use your hashtags sparingly! Too many hashtags in one Tweet can also look spammy and desperate to your audience so make sure you choose them wisely!
For example, if you are a San Diego-based photographer sharing about a recent engagement session you would likely want to use the hashtag #SanDiegoWeddings and/or #SanDiegoPhotographer as opposed to #photography or #photographer as they are likely to give you more bang for your buck! There’s less Tweets under these hashtag hubs to compete against offering your Tweets more of a chance to stand out!
Twitter is the place to be for hashtags!
Hashtags can extend the reach of your Tweets and help them be seen by more people!
As a rule of thumb, only use 1-2 hashtags per Tweet + use them wisely!
How They Work
Hashtags on Instagram work much the same as Twitter and Facebook in the way that they are both searchable and clickable. Hashtags can be used to group similar content or they can be used to tie together a recurring feature, like our weekly social media tips, #socialstudiotip. Anytime we use this hashtag in our new posts, we always see a surge of engagement happen on older posts which helps to extend the life of those past grams. It’s really a win, win for everyone because our community gets to see more helpful tips!
It’s important to note that only public accounts will have the chance to appear under hashtag hubs so if you’re brand is currently “Private”, here’s one reason (out of many) to make the switch to a Public account now.
When you search a hashtag on Instagram, the first grams to populate at the top of the search results are Top Posts. Wondering what makes a Top Post on Instagram? You’ll love this blog post!
Similar to Twitter, a use of too many hashtags in your Instagram caption can look a little desperate. You can get away with more hashtags (up to 30 per post) because of a greater character limit (2,200 to be exact) but you should still use them wisely! It’s common practice to use the majority of your hashtags (that do not add context or branded value to your post) to the comments section. You can do this by simply typing them up in your Notes app and copy/pasting them over.
Pro Tip: Keep a list of hashtags that seem to perform well for you at your desk! This will take some trial and error as well as some investigating to figure out which hashtags have that “just righttttt” amount of use and engagement. You can even repurpose this list and try these hashtags on Twitter!
Using hashtags on Instagram can help extend the lifespan of your posts and attract new people to your Insta-community.
Instagram only allows for 30 hashtags/post, make sure to use them wisely!
Secure the “Top Posts” spot by using these tricks!
How They Work
Here’s where hashtags get really funky! Hashtags on Pinterest do not work the same as other social media platforms because Pinterest itself is not a traditional social media platform! You can actually think of Pinterest as a social search engine– more like Google and less like Facebook! Pinterest is 100% focused on the optimization of keywords.
When you use a hashtag on Pinterest, the algorithm reads it just as any other keyword. Search results for a hashtag could include pins using that particular hashtag as well as pins that include the same word or phrase (as the hashtag) in the Pin description.
Confused? Here’s an example!
When I search #omgbandoagenda. This Pin appears toward the top because #omgbandoagenda is being used in the Pin description.
Whereas this Pin does not have #omgbandoagenda in the description but it does have the word “agenda”.
You’re better off only using hashtags to boost the awareness of a campaign if you really want to use them. Instead, utilize your Pin description for adding context to your pin, optimizing your keywords, and using a clever call-to-action to nudge your audience in the right direction! See below for an example!
Hashtags on Pinterest are searchable (sort of) and clickable on Pinterest ONLY when used in Pin Descriptions
Hashtags are best used for generating campaign-specific buzz
How They Work
Or how they don’t work. . .
Snapchat, being the newbie platform that it is has such limited capabilities right now but that’s half the fun for the end user! They don’t need all the bells and whistles to enjoy this fast-growing, popular mobile-based platform. With limited search, there is no current way to search or categorize hashtags on Snapchat but in time, I assume there will be.
For now, businesses can still get strategic with hashtags by using their Snap Story to build awareness.
On the day Ban.do launched their 2017 agendas, they shared the hashtag to their Snap Story. On this same day they were hosting several Snapchat-exclusive giveaways (including items that can be used with their agendas) which also helped to ensure lots of eyes were on their Snap Story over the entire day meaning more exposure for their hashtag and ultimately their agendas.
Another fun way to use hashtags on Snapchat could be to ask your audience to use them on other platforms to interact with you. For example, we may ask our Socialites to Tweet us their social media related questions during a particular time using our branded hashtag #InspireConnectGrow. This is a great way to give back to your Snap community while also allowing them a fun way to engage with you and use your hashtag! That’s a win, win, win!
Right now hashtags are neither clickable or searchable on Snapchat
Your brand can use Snapchat to raise awareness for your branded hashtags or to get your community engaged with you using a particular hashtag
I bet you didn’t think there were so many factors involved when using hashtags across social platforms but the truth is, each network is unique! When used strategically, hashtags can be a powerful tool to attract new eyes to your posts, connect real-time interactions, increase brand awareness, and so much more! Discover the right hashtag for your brand + develop a successful strategy!