If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ve probably seen plenty of hashtags.
In recent years, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.
Hashtags can be a very valuable tool on all of these sites. In essence, hashtags help to give your posts more reach. Using a hashtag makes your post searchable. Anyone with an interest in a particular topic or keyword can do a search and browse through all posts including that hashtag.
This means that posts including hashtags become visible to people outside of your network of followers. Using them will expand your reach to people interested in the hashtag you’re using. This can help you to generate more engagement and find new followers.
The way you use hashtags, however, should change depending on which site you’re posting on. For different social media networks, the perfect number of hashtags to optimize reach varies.
Twitter is the original home of hashtags, and using the right hashtag can make a drastic difference in how successful your tweet is. In fact, tweets that include hashtags get, on average, twice the engagement as tweets with no hashtags. According to Quick Sprout, 40% of tweets with hashtags get retweeted. These hashtags go a long way, but that doesn’t mean you should start using dozens of them. On Twitter, you should stick to one or two hashtags. Anything over two will cause you engagement to drop.
Unlike Twitter, Instagram welcomes handfuls of hashtags. In general, the more you use, the better. Users can browse through pictures by searching for hashtag keywords, and the more hashtags you use, the more likely it is that those users will find your posts. For now, the magic number seems to be max 11. Posts that have 11 or more hashtags get an average of 79.5% interactions per 1000 followers. Take some time to think of hashtags you can use to describe your post, and you’re likely to get a big payoff in increased user interaction.
While hashtags have taken off on Twitter and Instagram, they haven’t been as popular on Facebook. When Facebook first started incorporating hashtags, posts without them were getting better reach than posts with them. Today, hashtags don’t seem to harm a post’s reach. However, you should not include more than one or two within a Facebook post. Going over two hashtags seems to lead to about a 30% drop in interactions. No one likes to see a paragraph of hashtags at the bottom of a Facebook post. Either leave the hashtags out or limit yourself to one or two, and you’ll be all set.