Understanding the Power of Hashtags

Even though hashtags have been around since 2007, many social media users still misunderstand their true use and effectiveness on various social media platforms. Whether it's for your business or personal account, hashtags are a very powerful content organizer that can ultimately determine how successful you are on social media.

Let's go back to basics for a second...

Hashtags were first used on Twitter to organize content around a specific theme so that users could easily consume the content they were interested in all in one place.

For example, if I am interested in seeing news, photos, posts, or anything else about the Oscars screw-up where they wrongly announced Best Picture, I can search #Oscarfail. Twitter will then take me to a feed of content that has tweets, videos, photos, and more about the topic.

The social media behaviour concerning the 2016 Oscars

Hashtags can also be used to attract engagement with your account. When making a hashtag, it is important to be very specific with the words you use. The more specific you are, the more targeted your audience will be and the more engagement your post/account will receive. For example, if I want to post a photo on Instagram including #oscars, I can look up the hashtag and see how many posts have included that hashtag.

Analytics on the Oscars hashtag

And if there are a lot of posts with that specific hashtag, people won't be able to find your post easily because it will get buried by the masses of newer posts. However, if you used a more specific hashtag, such as #oscarsparty2017, you would have more luck with people seeing your content because there are far less photos with that hashtag.

Analysis of specific versus broad hashtags on social media

Make Hashtags Work for Your Business

The above points are just the beginnings of learning about hashtags. How often you should use them will vary based on your goals and on each social media platform.

For social media marketing, I recommend looking into popular hashtags for different platforms and making sure to repeat them a lot in your posts. That way, people searching a specific hashtag you've used on multiple posts will continue to be engaged with your brand. 


Never forget the importance of research and analysis, even when thinking about social media. Be sure that you understand how important social media analytics is for your business and success.

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