When you include hashtags in social media posts, you're immediately expanding the reach of your posts far beyond those who follow you on social networking sites. You have the potential to reach anyone that is interested in the hashtag phrase or keyword!
Our team at New York Ave can give our own personal testimony of how using the right hashtags have helped our social media posts get more exposure.
The Impact of Hashtag Use Varies Depending on the Social Media Platform
Something that definitely needs to be noted is that the impact of hashtag use is not the same on every social media platform.
Hashtags first made their appearance on Twitter, and those that are familiar with this popular social networking site understand the powerful impact that hashtags can make. Did you know that tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement than those that don't have hashtags? Also, tweets that include at least 1 hashtags are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted?
Another popular social networking site that embraces hashtag use is Instagram. If you're looking to grow your Instagram following in 2016, consider hashtags to be your best tool for doing so.
Of course, Facebook did not want to be left out of the hashtag game either, especially considering that this social media giant owns the hashtag-loving Instagram. However, research shows that social media posts on Facebook actually perform better when hashtags are not used. You can expect that Facebook will continue to make enhancements to make this stat change.
The Optimal Number of Hashtags to Use in Social Media Posts
Just like the impact made from the use of hashtags varies on social media platforms, the optimal number of hashtags you should be including in your posts changes from network to network.
On Twitter, research shows that tweets that use only 1 to 2 hashtags perform best. As soon as you assign more than 2 hashtags to a tweet, the engagement rate drops by 17 percent.
On Instagram, however, posts with several hashtags attached to them will drive the most interaction. A recent study indicated that Instagram posts that use at least 11 hashtags earn the most engagement.
Research shows that not including a hashtag with Facebook posts is probably best. This will likely change in the future though, so feel free to experiment by occasionally using 1 hashtag with your Facebook posts.
Hashtag Use Best Practices to Keep in Mind
1. Before attaching a hashtag to any social media post, do your research!
This point can't be reiterated enough. We've seen some brands make some horrendous mistakes and social media blunders over the years for neglecting to do this.
2. Don't use long strings of words.
This is annoying and will turn off your audience. However, if it's absolutely necessary to do so, use capitalization appropriately to make it easier to read your hashtag.
3. Have a social media crisis management plan in place.
In the event that your hashtag use takes a wrong turn, have a plan in place for how you will deal with the situation.
How have hashtags allowed your social media posts to get more exposure?