How to Use Hashtags on Instagram, Twitter and Beyond: Infographic

HOW TO HASHTAG ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS (1) Curious about how to use hashtags on popular social media platforms? 

Choosing the right hashtag, or hashtags can be quite confusing! For best results you should have a plan. 

All hashtags are not created equally and if you were to ask five social media experts about how,when and where (and how abundantly) hashtgs should be used, you are likely to get five different answers.

Hashtags are a bit like seasoning. We can all agree that food tastes better with it, but too much salt will always spoil the stew. It’s important to remember that hashtags should always serve a purpose – whether that purpose is to brand a message, notify users that a message has been paid for, to group or classify, or simply to inject humor. If you are trying to accomplish too much at once, particularly in a space where characters are limited, you will be overseasoning.

Don’t hashtag at cross purposes. For the sake of sanity, we’ve created some “best practices” cheat sheets to refer to when hashtagging on Instagram and Twitter, and beyond.

Hashtag Decision tree for Twitter (1)

Twitter questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the post a paid ad driving traffic to a specific link?  (#NOHASHTAG)
  • Is the post part of a chat? (use official #CHAT or #EVENT hashtags)
  • Sponsored post? (#SPON* or #AD* plus campaign Hashtag)
  • Is the post social commentary?  (#TRENDING hashtag)
  • Is the post part of a game, contest or voting process?( use the #VOTE #CONTEST and #SWEEPSTAKES* hashtags)
  • Are you a trendsetter or someone who uses hashtags for emphasis and/or irony? ( #BECLEVER with your tags )

Hashtracking Decision Tree  Instagram (2)

Instagram Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the subject matter, location, or image type categorizable?  Would someone searching for images with this specific tag want to see your image? (#BERELEVANT and use a specific  #PLACE or #THING categorical hashtag)
  • Sponsored post? (#SPON or #AD plus campaign Hashtag)*
  • Crossposting to Twitter? (See #Twitter Hashtag Guidelines)
  • Is the post social commentary?  (use a #TRENDING hashtag)
  • Is the post part of a game, contest or voting process?( use the #VOTE #CONTEST and #SWEEPSTAKES* hashtags)
  • Are you a trendsetter or someone who uses hashtags for emphasis and/or irony? ( #BECLEVER)
  • Are you an artist or purist who is above it all and believes that hashtags are the devilwork of marketers? (#NOHASHTAG)
  • Are you a bit desperate for follows and likes? (#ALLTHEHASHTAGS #HASHTAGPARAGRAPH) **

Read on for additional notes and questions to ask yourself when hashtagging on other platforms below.

Facebook Questions:

  • Are you a trendsetter or someone who uses hashtags for emphasis and/or irony? ( #BECLEVER)
  • Sponsored post? (#SPON or #AD plus campaign Hashtag)
  • Is the post social commentary linked in the news to a hashtag?  (#TRENDING hashtag)
  • All others, and concerned about max views? (#NOHASHTAG)

If views are your number one priority, skip the hashtag. Our research has shown hashtag use can actually lead to fewer people seeing your post on Facebook

YouTube Titles: 

Will the title post to Twitter?  (see Twitter Questions if you want to include a hashtag in your title)

Periscope Broadcast Titles:

Is your Periscope account linked to Twitter?  (See Twitter Questions)

G+: 

  • Are you a trendsetter or someone who uses hashtags for emphasis and/or irony? ( #BECLEVER)
  • Sponsored post? (#SPON or #AD plus campaign Hashtag)
  • Is the post social commentary linked in the news to a hashtag?  (#TRENDING hashtag)

(if none of the above)

  • Do you generally like to avoid annoying people? (#NoHashtag)

Hashtags don’t seem to harm or help a ton on G+ but overuse on this platform is likely to  annoy people, so use prudently.

Pinterest Descriptions:

  • Do your Pins Auto Tweet? (See Twitter Questions)
  • See G+ Questions

Use caution – unconfirmed rumors abound that Pinterest is currently demoting content using hashtags.

Other:  Snap Chat, Tumblr, Meerkat, Stumble Upon, Reddit etc

  • Do you share your content on Twitter?  (See Twitter Questions)
  • See G+ Questions
  • Consider Instagram Questions
  • #UsePrudence

* These tags may be legally required for paid advertising and contests

** We can’t recommend using hashtag paragraphs in good conscience, but some swear by it.

Discussions about hashtagging can tend to get lively. Like religion and politics, many people have strong and differing opinions. Do you have additional hashtag use insight to share? Leave us a comment or tweet us @hashtracking 

About Ciaran Blumenfeld

Ciaran Blumenfeld is a serial entrepreneur with a pedigree in marketing & advertising. She's one of the original co-founders of Hashtracking. She enjoys a strong, engaged personal social media presence with footholds in the parenting, lifestyle and travel markets. As a marketer Ciaran can be found overseeing multi-platform digital campaigns from strategy to execution. This is when her geek side shows.

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