The Rules to Hashtagging on Each Social Media Platform

22 Oct 2013
by Fernando Cuscuela

Hashtags are one of those things where they seem so easy to do but in reality are trickier than they appear. Hashtags (pound sign #) are designed as a way to group similar interests or topics together and, whether we like them or not, they are an integral part of our social communication strategies.

Although multiple platforms have implemented this hashtag feature, there are actually different hashtag rules that should be followed within each platform.  To help you out, we’re here to give you to ins-and-outs of proper hashtagging for all social media platforms.

Twitter

Twitter is the ‘godfather’ of the hashtag, so if you’re going to pick and choose where to hashtag, then this should be your first choice. When using hashtags on Twitter, keep in mind that they are meant to categorize your tweet’s subject with a trend or common interest. For example, I would hashtag, #HashtagTips for this post. Unlike other platforms, Twitter has established a  hashtag which invokes humor in trending subjects. When users tweet about trending topics, often users will include a sarcastic tone or humorous hashtag at the end of their statement.

Rule of Thumb:

  • Tweets are limited to 140 characteristics, try to incorporate hashtags within your tweets and at the end of your message.

  • Utilize Everypost’s built in Hashtag Suggestions, which are based on user-generated hashtags and trending topics, so you never have to leave the app to do hashtag research.

  • Implement hashtags on all tweets; Twitter is meant to offer widespread information in a short phrase, so never skimp out on a chance to include a hashtag.

  • It is common practice to include between 1 to 3 hashtags per post.

  • If adding humor to your hashtag, make sure there is also a relevant hashtag.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great marketing tool to visually display your content. Pinterest hashtags only work in your pin descriptions and are designed to help new users find your image-based posts.  Since users typically are pinning other pins based on visual appearance, including relevant hashtags is vital for landing in appropriate posts.

Rule of Thumb:

  • Don’t use overly vague hashtags, if you just hashtag #marketing or very broad terms, your post will be lost among 1,000s of other visually appealing posts.

  • Use branded tags! If you sell products, this is a great way for users who share your pins to identify your brand with the product.

  • Create and implement unique hashtags for your contests and promotions. By doing this offers a easy way to keep track of the campaign.

  • Include between 1 to 2 hashtags per pin.

Tumblr

Hashtags on Tumblr visually appear different than on Twitter, since the platform has a designated section to insert your tags. Additionally, Tumblr offers a unique ability to track particular tags which allows you to continually follow specific terms of interest as they come. For instance if you have a branded hashtag, you can track the tag during your campaign.

Rule of Thumb:

  • You don’t need to put a tag in quotes or start with a hashtag since it will load automatically linked from the Tumblr tag section.

  • Track your branded tags to easily follow user engagement

  • Typically implement between 1 to 3 tags per post

Instagram

Hashtags are a great way to generate exposure to your photos on Instagram. Compared to Twitter, Instagram has developed a hashtag culture that encourages users to interact in a more community setting, such as the popular hashtag  #ThrowbackThursday, where users share retro photos of themselves on Instagram.

Rule of Thumb

  • Use unique, branded the hashtags to start a photo contest
  • Incorporate between 1 to 2 hashtags per post.
  • Be relevant and specific in your hashtags in order to make your photos or videos stand out
  • Be observant, keep your eye out for trending hashtags in order to be ahead of the ongoing trends

Google+

Similar to all of the other hashtag abilities, hashtags on Google+ are designed to group ideas and interests. Additionally, it’s a great networking tool for businesses to find other company profiles with similar interests. If you haven’t noticed, when you post a new article on your Google+ page, a hashtag of a related words appears on the right of your post. If you click that, you are redirected to a page full of related content.  If you want to add another hashtag that wasn’t automatically used in your post, no worries because the pound sign also works on Google+.

Rule of Thumb

  • Timing – try to be in the midst of the conversation on trending topics rather than the tail-end of conversation

  • Post between 1 to 2 hashtags in your your posts

  • Include hashtags in your photo posts. Hashtagging in the description of your photo posts is an additional way to optimize.

  • Be sure to incorporate hashtags in posts in Google+ communities. This is a great way to encourage and track conversations around a specific topic.

Youtube

Google is constantly finding new ways to integrate Google+ across their platforms and services and recently required a Google+ account to comment on YouTube videos. Since these two sites and now intertwined, follow the hashtagging rules and best practices for Google+ for effectiveness on Youtube.

LinkedIn

Despite their popularity, the hashtag function on LinkedIn no longer works. If you do come across hyperlinked hashtags, clicking on them in the News Feed will only take you to a Help Page explaining the withdrawal of “LinkedIn Signal”.

Facebook

I bet you were wondering, “Why is Facebook at the bottom?” Well, it turns out, that although Facebook does have the hashtag feature, the results have been less effective in generating engagement than compared to social media campaigns that didn’t use hashtags. Which just shows, that not all platforms are alike.

As you can see, hashtags play an integral part of your social media campaign, but also come with their own set rules. Make sure to follow our blog for more essential tips on how to use social media better.

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3 Comments:

  • King Bum on February 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm Reply

    Cool post man, would you know anything about suitable tagging processes on WordPress? If you did and could respond, I’d be most grateful.

    • Fernando Cuscuela on March 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm Reply

      Do you mean tagging each blog post? If so, that depends on topics you cover in your blogs overall and specific subject areas that each post goes into.

  • Tags and hashtags: The ultimate guide to using them effectively on March 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm Reply

    […] Blog had this handy summary of the functionality of tags across the major […]

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