Do #hashtags Work?

If you still think that “#” stands for the pound symbol, your small business may be missing out. It’s a hashtag and using it can help you reach more people on social media - up to two times more, according to But to see those results, you need to use them correctly. Find out how hashtags work and how to use them to get more people engaged with your small business.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or short phrase with the symbol “#” in front of it. For example, “#buylocal,” “#homeimprovement,” or “#desserts” are all hashtags. Notice there are no spaces between words. When used in social media platforms, especially Twitter and Instagram, they serve as a way to group together any public posts or images about that topic, kind of like a keyword but more effective in filtering in posts on certain topics. So if you search for “#holidaymovies” on Twitter, you can see tweets from others on that subject, all linked together by that hashtag.

So why is this important for small businesses? It’s a way to get more people to notice your posts. That means you extend the reach of your social media content. Your message will get linked to other content with that hashtag. The more popular the hashtag, the more like-minded people see your content.

And best of all, it’s free. Just add the hashtag to your post. The social media platform aggregates your message with other content having the same hashtag so people can search for it.

Tips on Using Hashtags Properly

It’s important to use hashtags correctly. Using them too often and search engines will penalize your content. Take a look at these tips to get most from your hashtags:

  • Know the neighborhood - Not all hashtags are welcome in every social media platform. If you’re tweeting, you’ll want to limit the number of hashtags on Twitter to one or two. But on Instagram, you can use many more. In fact, posts containing 11 hashtags get nearly 80 percent more engagement. Don’t forget to make your post public on Facebook or only those in your network will see it.
  • Do your homework first – Conduct some research to find the right tag. You want to use tags that will get the attention of your target market. That may not be the most popular tags. Look for tags that are related to your business or industry. Observe what influencers in your market are using. Tie it to your overall promotional efforts. So your tag might relate to a contest you’re running, a local celebration, a conference you’re attending, or a community organization you support.
  • Make them memorable – Hashtags can be used to promote your brand. It’s a way to link your content together so people can search for it. And if other people use it, they’re promoting your brand too. That’s why it’s important to keep it short, simple, and easy to spell so people remember it.
  • Deliver on your hashtag – A good hashtag might get noticed but if it’s attached to poor content you may have lost the battle. The point is to engage with your target market by giving them interesting information that they can use. Start there, then add a great hashtag.

Hashtags can be a great way to extend your reach on social media. The key is to use them effectively. Begin with these tips for proper hashtag use.

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