Using Hashtags Properly

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

“Success on social media is predicated on building relationships with others, which requires being social, interacting, listening, and joining the conversation.” Gary Vaynerchuck couldn’t be more right because without real substance, there is no purpose behind your brand. However, when it comes to building the awareness around your brand and joining a conversation, hashtags can be quite useful. It all started in 2007 on Twitter from a man named Chris Messina, who used the hashtag to find people who had attended the #barcamp conference. After that, the rest was history. As hashtag popularity grew, they became a way for people and brands to grow their business and build a community. They are essentially useful little links that work by grouping related content together that create the perfect method for finding relevant content to share, giving your audience an easy way to find your content. So if you use #Foodie, you will find content only related to food. The trick with hashtags is to see which trending hashtags apply to your brand the most and utilize them to your own narrative and storytelling. When it comes to using hashtags, relevancy is key. 

When it comes to finding relevant hashtags to use for your content, we recommend that you do some keyword research. You can use resources including Google Trends, Pinterest Trends, Instagram’s search bar, Moz, and Twitter’s Trending tab. Just by searching hashtags, you’ll see suggested ones underneath the search bar along with how many posts use that specific tag. Pretty much every social platform allows the use of hashtags because they are so useful in a multitude of ways including building community, discussing events, and conversational topics. However, the number of hashtags you use depends on which platform you’re using. A hashtag strategy is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to the various social media networks. In fact, on some platforms like Pinterest, it’s better not to use hashtags in your posts. For instance, you can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, but we recommend you stick to one or two on Facebook and up to three on LinkedIn. Just like each platform is unique, so are the types of hashtags you use. By using different types of hashtags in your marketing strategy, you can broaden your reach and really find out what works best for your brand. 

There are many types of hashtags you can use to get more brand exposure. Trending hashtags are of course the most popular because the exposure can make your post viral if posted at the right place at the right time. These types of hashtags may not always align with your business, so make sure to only use ones that are relevant to your business and keep a look out for ones that offer creative opportunities for you to tie your brand to a current trending topic. Community hashtags are great for connecting with a specific audience and finding niche communities. Some brands with a loyal following can use their own branded hashtag to build a community. Look at West Elm, a furniture and home decor company that used #MyWestElm to encourage their supporters to use the hashtag when sharing photos of their furniture. This long term tactic is great for social proof and building a community around your brand. You might think this sounds like it’s more for a campaign, however, campaign hashtags are more short term, have a start and end date, and are great for creating buzz around a specific contest, product release or discount. Content description and product or service related hashtags also make it easier for people to find your brand because you are tagging multiple items related to your industry. They also offer a way to find like-minded companies to partner with and network. Using hashtags is about finding smart, strategic ways to get your social media updates in front of your ideal audience. 

When it comes to your company’s social media marketing, hashtags are an essential part of your content strategy and its success. Hashtags work because they make it easier for customers and brands to connect online. In the online world, things can get pretty busy and there is an abundance of information available for anyone and everyone. There is a lot of noise you have to break through, and it can be easy to go unnoticed with millions of users sharing their thoughts on different topics all at once. Hashtags help us to break through that noise and find our niche. They give us a way to easily find the conversation we’re interested in and discuss the topics that matter to us. In fact, a post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So it really is worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow your account! Just keep in mind that hashtags will not do the work for you. It will take some testing and analytics along with some killer content that can grab your target market’s attention and really pull them in. If you need to build your brand online, we are here to help!

At MSM DesignZ, we put in the time and energy needed for success, so you can ensure you are using every dollar for maximum return. With over 20 years in the business, we have watched marketing evolve from traditional to digital. Whether you need a website refresh, more attractive email, or a quality online presence, we can do it all. When we take on a client, we put in 110% and treat every brand as if it’s our own. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!