What is a Hashtag? And How To Use Hashtags in 2020
Remember when ‘hashtags’ weren’t a thing? Yeah, neither do we.
It was around the same time that YouTube wasn’t a well-known, universally accessible platform. It meant securing a glimpse of Madonna’s newest music video would elicit an inherent, somewhat catastrophic Saturday morning of enrage-fuelled channel flicking tantrums between the only two channels showing music videos. The sheer prospect of a hand-held device that’d eliminate this exercise and instantly, within seconds, show you her latest video from the moment it was released, defines an exploit no one in 2020 would bat an eyelid at.
Social media and instant messaging apps didn’t exist either (how we functioned, we are not sure), and ways of instantly communicating with total strangers across the globe on the same topics were rare.
Concurrently, as with the way our lives have transformed so significantly in the last decade, so has the age of words and terms once deemed obscure (and not universally understood).
In a past life, # was widely known as the button you’d need to push under the ‘9’ key on a telephone keypad to proceed to the next step of an automated menu.
Boy have we come far.
The digital revolution has well and truly nudged its way into our lives, people.
‘Social media,’ ‘Insta-famous,’ ‘Selfie,’ ‘Meme’; terms that, once upon a time, meant nothing. Today ‘Hashtag’ certainly means something.
In fact, no social media user is truly complete without using one (or two..or three..or more) within their post(s).
So what’s a hashtag in 2020? They are typically posted with social media content and are represented by the # symbol, followed by a word or phrase, and no spaces in between.
This allows social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and yes, even LinkedIn) to find conversations from different users on a certain topic and bundle them into a single accessible stream.
Users can find posts on the same topic by searching for a particular hashtag or clicking on one within someone’s post.
For example, if you wanted to check out all the conversations happening around #KylieJenner, you’d jump into the search tool on the relevant social network, and type in #KylieJenner. Bam. Results will flood your page, showing you public content where people have included this particular hashtag.
Ever heard the phrase, ‘Hashtags for likes?’ Plain and simple, people use hashtags to have their posts seen by more people. More people seeing your content generally means more likes.
Hashtags can unite conversations around certain topics, causes, events, holidays, celebrations, disasters; you name it.
For example, you might’ve heard the term ‘Wedding hashtag’; which refers to a modern trend where couples typically blend their names together into a fun and quirky phrase. Wedding guests (and of course, the couple getting married) use this phrase as a hashtag, which then is shared with social media posts from and about the event itself. That’s why Wedding Hashtag Generators are super popular online.
If you’re wondering; Do hashtags work on Facebook? Then we’re here to tell you, yes! You might not have seen a Facebook post with one before, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used.
Want to know How to Hashtag? We’ve got you covered. The best part is it’s actually quite easy (nothing beats easy).
Ensure each hashtag only contains one word. Don’t include spaces or punctuation within the one word (so, if we were writing open-space, we’d write it as #openspace). You can also include the hashtag at the start, in the middle, or at the very end of your message.
Handy Tip: If you’re planning to include multiple in your post, you can clean things up a bit by including them at the end of your post.
Are hashtags worth it? You bet.
Organic reach (That is, reach you aren’t paying for) on social media is getting trickier and trickier. Hashtags make this tricky prospect a bit less tricky. More eyes on a post means more engagement, more followers (or Likes, for Facebook’s sake). If you need more proof, here’s a neat little stat for you. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive on average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
How many hashtags are too many?
Instagram, for example, allows you to have 30 per post. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to fill this quota. It can look spammy, or even make a post look cluttered. According to research, the highest-performing posts seem to adopt the ‘less is more’ approach, using approximately two to five per post.
If you include popular content within your social media post, chances are it’ll be seen by more people. While searching for popular hashtags on a hashtag generator can sometimes work, many tools that do this can incur a cost.
You can use the search functions within Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to do this (and it won’t cost you a cent). Type #, followed by a certain term or phrase. Instagram, for example, shows you how many posts a particular hashtag has. If you’re looking to find out the most-used hashtag with the term ‘health’, all you need to do is type in #health, and bam, you’ll receive insights into the most-posted hashtags about ‘health’.
Many Facebook users tend to have their profiles set to private, meaning that if they use hashtags in their posts, Facebook won’t be able to show that in their search results. This is why you may notice hashtags on Facebook are typically populated with posts by brands, celebrities and influencers.
So what are you waiting for? Start experimenting by using hashtags in your social media content to see the difference it makes.