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What is a hashtag, how do we use it and why? We look at using the hashtag on 4 social networking sites: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.


So what is a ‘hashtag’… The hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag (#) sign. These are used on social media sites to identify posts about specific topics. How we use hashtags changes on different social media platforms, as time has gone by some of these platforms have modified how they use hashtagging. We have come up with an update on each of the main 4 social networks and how to best use the hashtag function.


“Hashtags included in your posts (or others) are now tappable and lead to search results so that you can discover other posts with the same hashtag. Simply add a hashtag to your post and it will be automatically available publicly. As you would expect, you can also search for a hashtag to see all public posts tagged with it.”– Love from LinkedIn

You can now add hashtags on LinkedIn and they are searchable… mostly. This functionality has only been added to the app it seems. However, on a desktop the hashtag is not clickable…

This means you can use a hashtag and as LinkedIn is used primarily on mobile they are worthwhile adding. Hashtags will be available to use on desktop too soon according to information from LinkedIn, when that will be though, who knows.


Twitter is the platform that has had the hashtags function available for the longest amount of time. Therefore it is pretty well established that we use the function wherever possible, so more people can discover our tweets.

But what is the golden ratio of hashtag per tweet?

Tweets using hashtags get double the engagement than those not using them. However, it is important to use twitter hashtags in moderation; using more than 2 hashtags in a single tweet has show to lower engagement by 17%, using 1-2 hashtags is shown to increase engagement by 21%.


One of the social media platforms where hashtags can be most helpful is Instagram. The hashtag is the main way to publicise your photographs. Use popular hashtags and as many of them as you have the patience to add, because the amount of hashtags you use has not been shown do have a detrimental effect on engagement. In fact, 11+ hashtags get the highest engagement!

Be specific – you can get highly specific with your tagging on Instagram to reach the perfect audience for your images.

Be Relevant – You can use tags with high numbers of photos tagged, like the very general hashtag #photo, but this isn’t the best way to get your photos to stand out. Find hashtags to groups of people who have the same interests of you, and hashtags with a fewer amount of other photos tagged will have more longevity. It is important to strike this balance.


You can use hashtags on Facebook, though totally in reverse to how we use hashtags on platforms like Instagram. Posts with a maximum of 1 or 2 useful hashtags are seen to perform the best.

  • Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
  • Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags averaged 416 interactions
  • Posts with 6 to 10 hashtags averaged 307 interactions
  • Posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged 188 interactions

So going from 2 to 3 hashtags shows a drop in engagement. This is likely because Facebook is a very conversational platform, unlike Instagram which is largely image based.

Because we need to limit our use of hashtagging on Facebook it is worth putting some effort into finding the best and most relevant hashtags for the conversations you want to become part of.

There are various tools available to help with hashtag marketing like, hashtagify.me, sprout social and more. These tools are certainly worth a try and do take the guesswork out of hashtagging!