Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term: hashtag. But what is the purpose of  hashtags? Do they really work for social media marketing? How many should you use? What is the best use of hashtags?

This is a subject I’ve been curious about myself so that’s what has prompted this particular article. I see them everywhere in social media. Many people in my Facebook news feed use them and I have often wondered how effective they are in digital marketing.

What Is A Hashtag?

Hashtags began with Twitter. Twitter was programmed so that by putting a hashtag (#) in front of any word or text, it would automatically become a link that would take you to a page where other people used the same hashtag for the same thing. So if you posted something in your Twitter account referencing Beagles and put a hashtag in front of that word, it would then become a link. When people read your Tweet and click on the word, #Beagle, they would automatically be taken to a page where tons of other people used the same tag–#beagle.

Why Are Hashtags Used?

So here’s where it starts getting interesting. While Twitter can claim that they were the first to create the use of hashtags, they are no longer they only game in town. I’ve seen people use hashtags in Pinterest, Google+, Facebook and even Instagram.

Using hashtags improves the click through rates of your content. According to some research I found from Buddy Media, tweets with hashtags get twice as many clicks as tweets that don’t have hashtags.

Where Can I Find The Latest Trending Hashtags?

There are a few free tools available that can help you find the latest trending hashtags to put in your social media posts. One of them is Hashtagify. Simply type a keyword into the address bar and click Search. Then scroll down to see what is trending. Trendsmap is another free tool. It’s a little difficult to read though. You can set it by your location, city, or country and it doesn’t allow you to enter in a keyword. This site simply tracks the latest trending hashtags.

How to Use Hashtags in Social Media

Don’t overdo it with hashtags. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you use too many hashtags, you risk confusing your audience. For instance, the maximum number of hashtags allowed for Instagram is 30. But that doesn’t mean that you should use 30. Quite the contrary. The advice is to use no more than two. If you use more than two hashtags, your engagement may actually drop. Not to mention that too many hashtags makes your post look spammy. (Learn more about social media engagement here.)

Because Twitter has a character limit, I put my hashtags in first. That way I know how many more characters I have left to use. To create a hashtag simply type: #[wordhere]. If your hashtag has more than one word, make sure there are no spaces between the words. If you see your hashtag turn into a blue link, then you know you’ve entered in a hashtag correctly. Also, you want to try and use good quality, targeted keywords so that your hashtag hits the right audience. Learning how to use hashtags in social media should be an important part of your daily social media activity.

Why Would You Want To Use Hashtags?

Using hashtags is a great way to give your content a little boost and increase your click through rates. There’s no harm in trying to get a little extra boost for your post. Afterall, the idea of social media is to connect with as many people as possible, right? Creating hashtags is the easy part. Creating popular or trendy hashtags takes a little more research on your part but once you get the hang of it, it will become much easier.

Thank you for checking out my article! I hope this information has been useful. Please feel free to leave a comment below with a hashtag! 😉