Public Relations


How to hashtag in 2022

December 2021

Reading time: 4 minute(s).

Hashtags have become ingrained into our everyday lives. Most people probably find they use hashtags on their social media without thinking, and some may even choose to use them in their language or WhatsApp messages from time to time…#justsaying. 

But how much do we know about them, is there a pattern of use that is recommended, and is there such a thing as overusing that little leaning grid symbol?  

Instagram, who along with Twitter really gave birth to the modern-day use of the hashtag, has given the sign’s meaning a real shake up recently, having released an update on how they are used and their frequency. 

What we already know about hashtags

Hashtags, always found at the bottom right-hand corner of phone keypads, are clickable and will take the user to a relevant page that shares the same hashtag.

Known technically as an ‘octothorp’ they are mainly used on Twitter and Instagram, and are useful to find relatable content, trends, and ideas.  

Why are hashtags important?

Hashtags have become a vital part of social media as they help the user to increase their reach and expand their platform’s audience. Using a hashtag means a post will not only appear on the user’s profile but will also appear on the specific page associated with the hashtag.  

Hashtags are also useful because those who use social media can ‘follow’ specific ones which they may be particularly interested in. This means they can follow relevant content which will always be filtered via their profiles, from accounts they may not necessarily follow.  

What are the new Instagram hashtag rules?

Now, Instagram allows users to include up to 30 hashtags on a regular post, and up to 10 on a Story. Trying to include more is fruitless because the comment or caption will simply not post and up until recently, Instagram had recommended 11 hashtags was the sweet spot in terms of hashtagging.  

But research has shown that most accounts were not using hashtags correctly, prompting Instagram to give hashtags use a bit of rethink. Now, the social media giant is suggesting the magic hashtag number is five per post.  

How about Twitter’s hashtag rules?

There are three recurring rules that come up when researching hashtags on Twitter.  

Using them consistently in posts is vital and will almost certainly boost the brand or business profile because it gives greater visibility elsewhere on Twitter. 

When brands connect with what is happening elsewhere on the microblogging site, the engagement of the audience increases by more than 18 per cent. It is also thought that brand awareness increases by eight per cent and purchase intent goes up by three per cent. 

But, like most things with social media, there is a fine line between following the online rules and not overdoing it. Twitter recommends between one and three hashtags is enough to see a difference, which would suggest the less-is-more approach is the way forward with this platform.  

When it comes to hashtags and social media, it is highly recommended that users do their own research before applying them. Popular, high-engagement and trending hashtags and topics, will almost always benefit the content begin posted, ensuring it remains relevant and reaches the right audience across the social media platform.  

Where to place hashtags?

According to Instagram, 87 per cent of accounts prefer to use hashtags in the caption and this has certainly shown to be highly effective when it comes to elevated engagement rates. This has also been a great approach for small and medium-sized Instagram pages, meaning each post generates a bit more reach. Another successful approach is adding the hashtags to the first comment of a newly published post.

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December 2021 | Adam Mclaughlan