Learn What Hashtags Mean On Each Social Network
Twitter may have been the first social sharing site to use hashtags to increase visibility — other networks like Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus have become just as important when it comes to getting your content noticed.
Hashtags are great for researching your market and connecting with others — when you see a hashtag in a tweet and want to see what others are saying about that subject, all you have to do is click on the hashtag and you will get a list of tweets and people that use that word.
If you would like to improve your reach on social media you will need to know the nuances of how the hashtag is used on the different networks, and how to best leverage them.
1. Twitter Hashtags
When Twitter began the use of hashtags the intent was to make it easy for people to find relevant topics quickly. Because this has become the industry standard, hashtags on Twitter are still at the top of the list for being effective to communicate and network with the right people.
The key to the use of hashtags on Twitter is to have your profile on a public setting and to limit the use of keywords to a maximum of three. Too many can clutter your already brief update and you want to leave room for people to retweet.
Capitalizing on Trends
An easy way to find out the most popular hashtags on Twitter is to take a look at Trends which is located from the Home or Discover menus:
When you click the ‘change’ link, Twitter allows you to customize your Trends:
Not only can hashtags help you discover what is most popular on Twitter, but the use of these in your tweets will increase your engagement, retweets, and followers. Take a look at what other influencers are using in your industry and follow the same pattern to achieve the best results. You can do this with several easy to use tools like WhatHashtag, Twubs, or Hashtracking. These are all free search tools, which stay on top of the latest trends.
2. Facebook Hashtags
It was not until 2013 that Facebook finally started to incorporate the use the hashtags as it prepared for its public release of Facebook Graph. Today users can use these on both profiles and Pages for posts, like this example from radio personality, Karina Sanchez:
The unique function of Facebook hashtags is that you can discover Pages, Groups, Videos, Latest News, ect.:
One drawback to the use of hashtags on Facebook is that many profiles are public, therefore, Pages are of good value for search results and connecting with others. Like Twitter, the too many keywords in your posts will clutter your message, and so you will want to keep these to a minimum.
3. Google+ Hashtags
From the very beginning Google has incorporated hashtags into posts and like Facebook these are also clickable which will bring up results (similar to Twitter) that are trending:
As with Twitter and Facebook, hashtags should be used sparingly for better visibility. The biggest benefit of Google+ finding influencers and potential customers through communities and collections:
The more targeted hashtags will result in better results.
4. Instagram Hashtags
In this popular social network hashtags are widely used – to the extent that they often take the place of descriptions on photos and videos. These are mainly used as a discovery tool, and can help a business or brand to gain more followers.
Two great tools you can use to help find the best hashtag trends on Instagram are Iconosquare and Web.stagram. The great part about this social network is that you can safely use between 10 and 15 keywords instead of a limited number of three maximum.
I found this great Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet that will provide lots of perhaps new ideas for you that I think you will have fun with!
Since the latest algorithm update where the most relevant posts from your followers are being seen it is more important than ever to choose your keywords to a targeted audience. The more narrow the focus the better — this can greatly increase your brand’s visibility like this example from travel entrepreneur, Ann Tran:
You can click on a specific hashtag to gather more posts related to the topic or search inside Instagram directly:
Using the right hashtags in your posts will help your brand attract more targeted followers who are interested in what you have to offer.
More Hashtag Resources
Now that you have discovered the use of hashtags on the major social networks there are a few more tools to track these on any of the platforms, like this example in Tagboard:
Another free real-time hashtag search tool for Twitter is called Keyhole, which uses a very simple platform and gives you in-depth trends and tracking results:
Focused hashtags will not only help you gain new followers, but also increase the sharing of your content. Make them easy to read, targeted and memorable.
Now that you know how hashtags work on each social network, and what to look for, put them to good use then watch your community and influence grow.