How to Use Hashtags Effectively on Social Media

When it comes to promoting your brand on social media, hashtags are a great way to increase engagement and drive brand awareness. Also known as the pound sign (#), the hashtag is very effective in making your content discoverable to a captive audience.

Hashtags were first widely used on Twitter (now X), but they have become commonplace on other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, or ‘tags’ on newcomer Threads. On many, hashtags now act as a search engine for users to find information and ask questions.

Mastering the hashtag gives you a powerful way to engage your audience and increase your social impact at no cost other than the time it takes to do some research and pay attention to trends.

Used correctly, hashtags give context to your social posts, help people interested in your topic find your brand and help expand your influence and followers.

  1. What is a hashtag? 
  2. What do you do with hashtags?
  3. What does a hashtag mean on social media?
  4. What are hashtags important?
  5. How to find effective hashtags: Start with influencers
  6. Other research tools for finding hashtags

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or keyword phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#). It’s used within a post on social media to help those who may be interested in your topic to be able to find it when they search for a keyword or particular hashtag. It helps to draw attention to your posts and encourage interaction.

For example, if you’re a local deli or store, you could use #sandwich or #foodie when you post a photo of that lunch you really liked!

What Do You Do with Hashtags?

When using a phrase as a hashtag, you spell it out without spaces, such as #usinghashtags. It can include numbers but not symbols or punctuation.

The hashtag can be placed at the beginning, middle or end of your social media post or comment, and it allows what you have written to be indexed by the social media network. With this strategy, people who are not your fans or followers can still find your content.

If you need some guidance on how to research keywords to feed into your hashtags, check out our infographic for five easy steps.

“15% of consumers prefer to search on social media rather than search engines, while 31% use them to find answers to their questions”HubSpot

What Does a Hashtag Mean on Social Media?

While it sounds simple to place a hashtag in front of your keyword, there’s some other basic information that’s important to know when you are trying to be found by using hashtags.

Using hashtags only makes a difference in your social media strategy when done the right way.

Tips for using hashtags

  • Don’t get carried away using a hashtag every couple of words. The number of hashtags that can be used depends on which platform you are using. But in most cases, one to three hashtags can have more impact than a lot of them.
  • Keep hashtags short and memorable rather than trying to use a lot of words in one tag. Remember #BlackOutTuesday being used successfully as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2020?
  • Don’t try to choose hashtags that are too clever or obscure. If you choose a tag that no one is going to search for, it won’t benefit your marketing as it won’t be found!
  • Use hashtags that are detailed and specific as this will lead to better results than broad or general ones. Broad terms are not likely to be searched, and if you use them, your content will probably get lost in a sea of unrelated content.
  • Focus on hashtags with low or medium-volume search to hit the right audience. Using high-volume hashtags runs the risk of attracting spambots.
  • Don’t try to force hashtags into every post. Instead, use them when they add value and are likely to stimulate conversation and interaction.
  • Hashtags can not only attract members of your target audience but can also be used to research your competition. Search using hashtags, and you will uncover relevant content related to your topic.

Top tip: Be mindful of accessibility and clarity when creating your hashtags. It’s worth keeping the camel case in mind which is capitalizing the first letter of each word when writing compound words or phrases such as eBay or eBook. Read our recent blog to find out more about digital accessibility for marketers.

Why are Hashtags Important?

Hashtags are important on social media as they enable your content to be found by the right people. Using relevant hashtags helps give context to your content and drives traffic so that you can boost views, likes, and shares. The key is finding the right hashtags that match your content and appeal to users.

How to Find Effective Hashtags: Start with Influencers

There can be a fine line between hashtags that are too general and hashtags that are too complicated or can’t be found. A good place to start to determine what hashtags are effective is by paying attention to what hashtags influencers use in your niche.

The chances are you have a good idea who the influencers are that are capturing the attention of your audience, but if you are brand new to a niche, how do you find them?

For a particular niche, the influencers are the people whose voices are most trusted and listened to, such as celebrities, famous bloggers, and YouTube users. There’s also a great bank of B2B influencers that you can use to create marketing impact, just make sure they are relevant to your business.

A great tool to use to identify influencers is BuzzSumo. Using this tool, you can find the top content, bloggers, publications and writers in your niche. Follow the top influencers, and notice the hashtags they use regularly to tap into relevant keywords and trends.

Once you identify relevant influencers, you should use an influencer tracker tool to keep a list of important factors such as social channels used, specialty and relevance to your brand.

Other Research Tools for Finding Hashtags

Other research tools are specifically geared to narrowing down information about hashtags. Look into the following tools for help in identifying effective hashtags in your niche:

  • RiteTag offers instant hashtag suggestions in real-time engagement.
  • is a tool that allows you to search for popularity and trends of hashtags.
  • Keyhole provides you with a free search function and gives you real-time data on a range of factors.
  • Copyai hashtag generator uses AI to create hashtags for your social posts.
  • Hashtagforlikes is a generator tool for Instagram and TikTok that searches for live stats to help you create campaigns.
  • All Hashtag creates hashtags for a range of social platforms
  • Hashtag Generator Tool is no frills and was created by Influencer Marketing Hub for Instagram and TikTok
  • Keyword Tool enables you to search for Instagram hashtags based on a keyword

Remember to search for keywords related to your content on social platforms to see what hashtags come up. In addition, be sure to use social listening tools to understand what users are talking about and any trends that you could relate to your brand.

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