If you have been on the internet since 2007, it is almost guaranteed that your timelines have been flooded with an abundance of hashtags covering everything from #bestmakeuplooks to #marketingtips101. As we all know, hashtags have become a great way to join a larger conversation on social media sites; they make your content more discoverable, expanding your reach beyond current follower engagement and shares.

It has even been proven that brands who use hashtags on Twitter see a 50% increase in engagement compared to those who don’t, making people more likely to share their content. They create an overarching community that is based on common goals and interests, allowing you to follow specific tags to keep up with relevant topics with ease.

But in a world of #tbt and #nofilter-esk tags filling your timeline’s captions to the brim, how do you use popular hashtags to your advantage without #overwhelming #your #post?

We know that hashtags increase engagement, help you build your brand voice, and find your audience, but the question we ask is this: How to do we #hashtag the right way? Read on for some helpful #tips that will make you a #hashtagexpert in no time!

Look at current trends

On both Instagram and Twitter, you can check out which hashtags are garnering the most clicks on any given day; knowing what people are most inclined to search for can help you curate your post’s hashtags to include only the most relevant for your posts. RiteTag is a useful tool that gives you a direct look into what hashtags you should be using based on real-time data whenever you make a post!

Cater them to each social media site

Despite the fact that hashtags have the same general purpose across all social media sites, the way they are used on varying platforms differs slightly. On Instagram, your hashtags should be more so focused on describing the content that you posted. For example, if you posted a photo of a mural in your city, you would likely tag #art, #(insert city name here), and #mural. Twitter, on the other hand, sees hashtags that are more geared towards a conversation or topic that you wish to comment on. For instance, if you were tweeting about the Mueller Report, you could easily join the conversation using the #Muellerreport tag!

Use branded tags

A simple, direct way of garnering engagement from people interested in your specific brand is through the creation of a branded tag. Using hashtags like #UOonYou (Urban Outfitters) or #AExMe (American Eagle) gives your audience a direct tie back to your company, while also encouraging them to create posts aligned with the hashtag so they can be a part of your brand’s community.

Use general community hashtags

Each social media platform has a series of hashtags that are commonly used to create a community. This is another way to directly build engagement with little effort; these hashtags are already out there and thriving, just waiting for you to discover and use them! These tags tend to be more general and are not specific to any one person or brand. Popular community hashtags on Instagram include #tbt with 481 million posts, #instagood with 971 million posts, #picoftheday with 485 million posts, and #love with an astounding 1.5 billion posts!

Learn about your competition

As we see in the tip above, community hashtags see a #LOT of posts; using just these hashtags is tempting, but a better tactic would be including a mix of both popular community hashtags and those that aren’t used as frequently. Using a hashtag that has been used by millions means that you are competing with millions of other people for media attention. Using less competitive hashtags with lower post counts means less competition, so using a mix of these two options will allow to reach both a larger, more general audience as well as a smaller, more targeted audience.

Now that you know the best ways to #hashtag all of your amazing social media content, join the conversation and incorporate hashtagging into your strategic marketing efforts! For more on how to use hashtags with each specific platform, check out this great guide by Hootsuite! Happy #tagging!

Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization create a strategic marketing campaign, please contact us.