How to Hashtag + 6 Rules for Success

A hashtag is essentially a keyword or short phrase that allows users to connect and search content. They got their start in a lil’ old social media platform called Twitter, but now, Facebook and Instagram users are fully on the hashtag bandwagon… with LinkedIn rushing to catchup.

In our class last week, one of our attendees said that hashtags are like dresser drawers - you open the drawer (or click the hashtag link) for #socks, and there are all of your socks… and all the posts that are also tagged #socks.

Hashtags connect your audience with others who are on social media but aren’t necessarily one of your followers (yet). They are a great tool for building your online community and audience and a way for your customers to join important/fun group discussions that can promote your services and brand.


1. Increased engagement - According to Hootsuite “Twitter reported that brands who use hashtags see a 50 percent increase in engagement compared to those who don’t.”

2. Brand building - Use hashtags to generate interest and discussion around you and your business as well as to announce new products, services, events. For example this week, Hershey’s chocolate tweeted the hashtags #SmoresSaturday and #heartwarmingtheworld. One is more specifically geared towards the product while the other one speaks to the human desire to make the world a better, kinder place.

3. Location, Location, Location - By using hashtags across platforms, your customers can find you regardless of whether they are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Think of these hashtags as staples that connect all the different people, messages, brands conversations surrounding the same topic of interest. Is this a big deal? Yes! It is another way to build relationships with your current customers and generate new ones as well as get them talking and sharing your brand and what makes it amazing!

Important note: It’s great to use similar content across your platforms, but definitely stick to the best practices of each platform.

Types of Hashtags:

Common hashtags - You can use a hashtag that is common and very popular like #love, #mondaymotivation, or #photooftheday, and you’ll get more impressions, but they might not be totally relevant engagement. If someone likes your photo from the “love” hashtag, they might not be your target client, they might just love #love.

Specific hashtags - hashtags that are more specific to your product or service like #NYCmedspa, #cyclingcolorado, #socialmediatips might have fewer views/impressions, but higher engagement since you’re finding people who are looking for something more exact.

Hashtags By Platform

Twitter Hashtags

  • Use just 1 hashtag for maximum engagement


Instagram Hashtags

  • You can use up to 30 hashtags, but the optimal number of hashtags is 9 - 11


Facebook Hashtags

  • Facebook hasn’t updated their hashtag guidelines since 2016, so we’re kind of on our own figuring out the best way to go about Facebook hashtags

  • Use just 1 hashtag for maximum engagement

  • Be MORE specific than less - and use hashtags that are popular or trending for best results



There are some basic rules you can follow so that the hashtag police don’t give you a citation:

  1. #Onebigword - it can be a word or short phrase turned into one word without spaces.

  2. #NoPunctuation - keep the commas, periods, question marks to yourself. Tell your

  3. #EnglishTeachers - “this is not the time for punctuation.”

  4. #NoRules - there is no rule for where you have to put the hashtags in your posts. They can be used at the start, in the middle, or at the end of your social media posts.

  5. #CoverYourBases - you can use new hashtags on different platforms, but make sure you also use the same ones across platforms so your Twitter followers can also find you on Instagram.

  6. #CheckItOut - before you use a hashtag, do a quick check on what the other posts using that hashtag are about… you don’t want to get caught by surprise by a hashtag that has a different meaning to someone else.

Hashtags are the new card catalog system, your new school encyclopedia, the Dewey Decimal System for the internet. It isn’t complicated; it is just different. Maybe practice a little with your personal accounts, and then jump in with your business. While it isn’t always cool to do what the crowd is doing, in the case of hashtags, join the masses and be part of the discussion. Your business will benefit.