Absolutely anybody can slap a random hashtag or seven onto the end of their social media posts. If you actually want your hashtags to do something other than take up space though, you’ll need to do a bit more work than that. There are some proven hashtag marketing strategies that can help you to raise your brand awareness, encourage engagement and get your posts in front of a wider audience.
In this guide, we’ll go over 10 proven hashtag marketing strategies that are sure to help you grow your brand.
How do Hashtags Work?
Hashtags behave in almost exactly the same manner across all social media channels. Their main purpose is to help people identify information on a single subject – in other words, to categorize content.
As users click on the hashtag, they are led to a list of posts using the same hashtag on the platform. From there, they can discover, follow, and engage with other social media users on the basis of a shared theme or interest.
From a marketing standpoint, if you apply hashtags to your content, it will improve the exposure and organic reach of your social media messages.
How to Use Hashtags
Before we go any further, here are some ideas, as well as dos and don’ts for using hashtags in your marketing.
- Hashtags always start with the # symbol.
- They will not work if you include spaces, symbols or other punctuation
- Your social media pages need to be public or non-followers will not see your posts, including those with hashtags.
- Avoid using hashtags #ThatAreTooLongOrComplicated since they can be hard to read and recall.
- Capitalize the first letter of each word of the hashtag for improved readability – e.g. #SocialMediaMarketing.
- Ensure that each hashtag you use is well-researched, descriptive and important to your content.
- Limit the number of hashtags you’re using. Using too many of them can look spammy.
- Avoid using only generic hashtags, since they don’t improve the brand’s exposure.
- Track your branded hashtags and see what people think about your products.
- Track your industry’s hashtags to keep tabs on related news and developments.
- Monitor your hashtags’ performance so that you can make adjustments accordingly.
- Have a hashtag marketing strategy that incorporates using different hashtags across all types of content.
How to use hashtags on Twitter
- Optimal number of hashtags: 1-2
- Using as many hashtags as you want, but Twitter advises using no more than two hashtags per post.
- Include hashtags anywhere throughout your tweets, retweets, comments, and profile.
- Find hashtagged content by typing the keyword in the Twitter search bar.
- Discover trending hashtags in Twitter’s trending topics.
How to use hashtags on Instagram
- Optimal number of hashtags: 5-10
- You can include hashtags in or after your caption, or you can add them to the comments section.
- Use hashtags in your Instagram Stories.
- Add relevant hashtags to your bio.
- Search hashtags in the Instagram Explorer page.
How to use hashtags on LinkedIn
- Optimal number of hashtags: 1-2
- Use hashtags throughout your posts and articles.
- Search hashtags in the search bar.
- Get LinkedIn hashtag recommendations while writing a post.
- See the recommended hashtags in the right sidebar menu on the home page.
How to use hashtags on YouTube
- Optimal number of hashtags: 2-3
- Have a few (but not more than 15) hashtags in your video title or summary
- Click on a hyperlinked hashtag to view other content using the same hashtag.
- Note: If you do not have hashtags in the summary, the first three hashtags in the definition will be seen before the video title:
Why Hashtags Matter to Your Brand
Hashtags can be used to bring your content to a wider audience, raise brand awareness, target specific audiences, and take full advantage of trending subjects.
1. Boost the organic reach of your posts
Hashtags categorize your content so that you can target any person looking for that hashtag (not just your existing followers), pushing your content in front of a wider audience and boosting your brand recognition.
2. Increase engagement
“Tweets with hashtags can increase engagement by almost 100% (2x) for individuals and 50% (1.5x) for brands.”
3. Add context to your content
The use of a hashtag is a convenient way to add some context to your content quickly, particularly on Twitter, where there is limited character space.
4. Take advantage of trending topics
Across all social media platforms, hot topics occur and draw crazy numbers of followers. They’re a perfect way to get a huge audience to your product, service, brand, or content.
5. Join a relevant conversation
With hashtags, you can track and engage in related conversations taking place across social media platforms. You can contribute to the discussion if you follow topics and subjects specific to your brand.
Also, there are designated Twitter Chats, typically held on a regular schedule.You might take part in a few talks about your brand or industry, offer to guest host an existing Twitter Chat, or try building one yourself to boost your brand recognition and create brand trust.
11 Hashtag Marketing Strategies You Can Use Right Now
Let’s take a look at a few ways in which you can use hashtag marketing to your advantage.
1. Branded Hashtags
Undoubtedly the most useful strategy is creating a branded hashtag. Your company name, tagline, logo, or product/service names can all be included in branded hashtags. Nike also uses the iconic tagline #JustDoIt, for instance, while action camera GoPro uses the #GoPro brand name.
After you have established a branded hashtag, you can use it across all channels and categories of social media content. Then it becomes a convenient way for users to find your news and updates.
To further market your brand, you can even ask your followers to include it in their updates.
Branded hashtags help you differentiate your posts and also provide a way to track your posts’ untagged shares (those without your name).
As John Espirian clarifies:
“As well as being a useful personal branding tool, hashtags play an extra role on LinkedIn. They help you find “untagged” shares of your content. If you use a branded hashtag in your original post, then searches on that hashtag should reveal shares that others have made on that post.”
With hashtags like #LinkedInLearnerLounge, John can check how far his brand is reaching:
2. Campaign Hashtags
Campaign hashtags are very similar to branded hashtags, because they are exclusive to the brand. The main distinction, though, is that you only use them for the length of a single ad campaign.
In addition to using their iconic tagline #JustDoIt, Nike also generates unique promotional hashtags, such as the empowering #YouCantStopUs campaign in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
3. Community Hashtags
Hashtags can help you to develop a Community around your brand, as well as help you build your brand. The reach of your brand expands as your audience grows.
GoPro cameras encourage owners to post action pictures using their hashtag #GoPro. GoPro then posts a picture of the day which names the user to create a user-generated content collection.
Airbnb is also a company that enjoys user content. They track all the posts labelled #Airbnb and share the best on their Instagram page.
4. Trending Hashtags
Another common tactic is to jump onto trendy hashtags. Trending hashtags are usually fast-paced, short-lived and a little erratic, and only worth jumping on when they’re relevant to your brand.
You should monitor trends as they emerge, and before you plunge in, you must also analyze the hashtag.
The downside is that a trending hashtag might mean your post(s) get lost in a sea of content.
5. Event Hashtags
Event hashtags have a start and end date, comparable to campaign hashtags. Certain annual activities could use the same hashtag. For instance, #TheMasters is used annually by the Masters Golf Tournament.
6. Holiday Hashtags
Some holidays have their own hashtags, including US Independence Day – #4thofJuly. Oher global or national days, weeks, and months, also have hashtags such as:
If they are important to your brand, they can be good chances for participating in discussions, so ensure that you plan and schedule your content for these set dates.
7. Location Hashtags
Local hashtags for companies that are meant to reach a local audience are extremely useful.
For example, a restaurant located in New York might use the hashtag #NewYorkRestaurant to draw clients that are looking for a restaurant in New York specifically.
8. Niche Hashtags
Niche hashtags let you talk about your brand in a very particular way. For starters, Anthia of @thesaltybiscotti is a specialist food photographer based in Athens. She uses #foodphotography niche hashtag in her posts:
9. Contest, Giveaway, and Challenge Hashtags
The participants must normally follow a brand or tag a peer to join in the challenge, as a means of increasing awareness and engagement.
The social media challenge, particularly common in TikTok, is another excellent hashtag marketing technique. All you have to do is launch a social media competition and support it with your own hashtag.
For Queen’s #SingWithFreddie contest, for example, to announce their entrance into TikTok, users had to record themselves evoking lead singer Freddie Mercury.
10. Content Hashtags
Content hashtags are basically the content-related hashtags that give context. For instance, a social media related tweet might contain #digitalmarketing, or an Instagram food post might contain #instafood
Hashtag Marketing Strategies in a Nutshell
By utilising a few of these hashtag marketing strategies, you can extend your brand’s reach, increase user engagement, boost brand awareness, and make your content more discoverable.
Try implementing a few of these hashtag strategies to see how effectively they work for you.