Hashtags are a well-known phenomenon on social media. You probably also use them yourself in the messages you post on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram or you search for specific topics on the same media. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the usefulness of the hashtag. What are the options per social media platform and how can you use them in Soworker?
History of the hashtag
Before we get into the usefulness and use something about the history of the hashtag first.
The sign was first introduced on Twitter in 2007 by IT expert Chris Messina. He asked in a tweet what people would think if the "hash", or hashtag, were used to easily search for content and find specific relevant updates. The # sign came from Internet Relay chat. That is the underlying protocol of an earlier chat technique, in which they used the symbol to group related messages.
This was that first tweet; "how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp”
Initially, Twitter rejected his suggestion. However, when major wildfires raged around San Diego in 2007, the hashtag was first used in large numbers and Twitter embraced the idea after all. In 2009, Twitter started adding a hyperlink below the hashtags. In 2010, Twitter introduced trending topics that let you see which hashtags are the most popular.
All major social media platforms now offer the option to add hashtags to messages.
Why hashtags (#) on social media
The hashtag is intended to categorize content. This way you can easily search for specific topics. It is therefore important that you ensure that the hashtags you use are relevant to the topic and preferably as short as possible.
Options per platform
Introduced the hashtag in 2019, at first only on the English version of LinkedIn and fortunately for some time now on the versions in other languages.
Adding hashtags to your posts helps the content to be discovered earlier, and helps LinkedIn categorize your posts and distinguish them from other content. The advice for LinkedIn is to use 3 to 4 relevant hashtags. Do not include 10 or more hashtags with a post. This results in a reduction of the range of 20 to 40%. Make them specific to your message and not necessarily to your brand.
The use of hashtags with a high number of followers (+100,000) does have a positive effect on the reach. Not sure yet what the best hashtags are for you? Then take a look at what your competitors are doing.
Preferably place the hashtag at the end of the message. That is the place where people expect it. Do you want to follow hashtags on LinkedIn yourself? In the search bar, type a # and the word. Then you will find the number of followers and you will get the option "follow / unfollow".
As indicated earlier, Twitter is the place where the hashtag was created for the general public. To increase the reach of your tweet, it is recommended to use 1 or 2 hashtags. This leads on average to 21% more engagement than tweets with 3 or more hashtags. So here also applies; excess harm.
Incidentally, only 24% of the tweets contain hashtags. With good use of relevant hashtags, this is a great opportunity to easily get more attention. You can place them in the text or after it. Both options are widely used. If you want to know more about using hashtags on Twitter, read this article.
You can use hashtags on Facebook since 2013, but they have never really broken through on the platform. Research by Buzzsumo even shows that posts without a hashtag do better than with a hashtag. One reason for this may be that Facebook gives the feeling of a private network, where friends and family connect. Using a hashtag on Facebook is a bit like putting an exclamation mark behind any topic you want to talk about at a family gathering. To get more traffic and attention on Facebook, it is better to get more followers on Facebook instead of using hashtags in your posts.
In 2011, Instagram started supporting hashtags on Instagram. They are used intensively, for example to increase your target group. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post and up to 10 in a Story. Just because you can use these numbers doesn't mean you should. There is no "best number" to use. TrackMaven research shows that posts with 9 hashtags lead to the best engagement. However, a study by Klear shows that posts with 2 hashtags generate the most likes. In practice you will see that 1 to 3 hashtags are used in most posts. In Stories you use the sticker for hashtags and you can only add 1 that can also be found. If you use text in Stories, close the text with the hashtag you want to use.
We advise you to test what works best for your organization. Just make sure to use relevant hashtags that fit the topic you're posting about. That is nice for your target group, but the Instagram algorithm also appreciates it. Also check here what the competition is doing. You don't have to copy them, of course, but it can inspire. If you can find 30 relevant hashtags for your topic, it is advisable to add them all. But if there are two, it is advisable to limit yourself to them. In any case, make sure to add at least one hashtag. In any case, that creates more engagement than none at all.
How do you use hashtags in Soworker?
The use of hashtags is supported for LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. When creating a post, you can use the # before the word you want to hashtag. When posting, a clickable hashtag is automatically created. Unfortunately, Facebook does not support the use of hashtags at the moment. To easily see what is possible per platform, we have created a handy cheat sheet.