It’s been six years now since Twitter user Chris Messina used the first ever hashtag and started a worldwide trend that has been steadily evolving over the years. Now, more and more social networks are adapting hashtags to make it easier for their users to discover posts – at this point, almost all major social networks have a hashtag feature. But how do they differ from one another? Each social network has a slightly different approach to hashtags, so let’s take a look at how best to use them on each social network.
Twitter is still the best social network for using hashtags. This is where hashtags truly feel at home and where they are most useful, in my opinion. This is because, unlike many other social networks, most profiles are public – meaning that a hashtag search will show almost every tweet that uses that hashtag. Not to say that Twitter doesn’t have its fair share of private profiles, but most of them are public.
On Twitter, hiashtags are very widely used. Some exaggerate by composing tweets that are basically only formed of hashtags, but I would recommend limiting yourself to two hashtags in each tweet. Too many hashtags can make your tweets not just annoying, but also completely un-readable.
Twitter also has a trending list that you can always see on the left hand side of your screen, with all trending hashtags of the day. These trends are usually tailored for each user, but you can easily change that by clicking on the Change button:
Hashtags on Twitter are discovery tools – when you see a hashtag in a tweet and want to see what others are saying about that subject, all you have to is click on the hashtag and you will get a list of tweets and people that use that word.
Hashtags on Twitter can help you raise your engagement and get more followers. Try to use hashtags that are relevant to your field, as well as hashtags that are in the trending list, as this way more people will be discovering your content.
This is a very useful tool that I recommend using every time you use a hashtag, especially if it is one that you have never used before. It’s not very easy to come up with a good hashtag that people will actually use – after all, if no one searches for that hashtag, what’s the point in using it? With this tool, you can enter one or more keywords in their search bar, and you will then get a list related hashtags, and the number of people who use them.
You can use Twubs to follow a hashtag in real time. Simply enter the hashtag you want in their search bar and you will be able to see a live feed of all tweets using that hashtag. You can also select the feed speed that you want and post messaged with that hashtag directly from the feed page on the hashtag chat.
This tool is very useful for those who want to run a Twitter hashtag campaign or event. This real-time hashtag intelligence tool provides charts and graphics, as well as numbers of tweets and retweets, reach, impressions and other details that will help you get more insight into the success of your hashtag.
Facebook is one of the more recent social networks to implement a hashtag feature. Facebook hashtags are also clickable and searchable, meaning that when you click on one you will be able to see other posts that contain that keyword and that you can search for a hashtag just like you would on Twitter.
While on Twitter most accounts are public, on Facebook it’s the opposite – here, most accounts and posts are private, and therefore searches for hashtags bring in less results.
Facebook users are not as big fans of hashtags as Twitter users, so it’s best not to exaggerate – one or two hashtags per post should be enough.
Google+ has taken a relatively different approach to most other social networks. Whenever you write a post, Google+ will automatically add a hashtag to it, unless you include one yourself. The hashtag will appear at the upper right corner of the post ‘card’ and it is clickable:
When you click on the hashtag, the ‘card’ will turn and you will be able to explore other posts from Google+ that are tagged with that hashtag.
In my case, the automatic hashtags have been quite accurate, but as I mentioned earlier, you can also add your own hashtags.
When you make a search for a specific hashtag, you will not only get results for that specific hashtag, but also for other, related hashtags.
On Instagram, hashtags are probably just as popular as they are on Twitter. It’s not uncommon for people to use exclusively hashtags in their photo descriptions and to use at least two or three on each photo.
Hashtags on the popular photo-sharing social network are extremely important and they are usually how people look for photos and new people to follow. In fact, a good hashtag (coupled with a great photo, of course) will get you new followers and new comments in no time.
Here’s a little more help on how to choose the right hashtags for your brand on Instagram:
This desktop Instagram search tool allows you to search for users and hashtags at once by entering the keywords you want. You will also be able to see similar usernames and similar hashtags as well as Instagram account statistics with your own usage of hashtags.
Other useful tools
This useful tool allows you to “see the whole conversation” when you search for a hashtag. You will be able to see what people are saying across several different major social networks: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, App.net, Vine and Google+.
RiteTag is another useful tool that will help you discover hashtags that you can then add to your content on different social networks. You get all the results on one page, based on how many times the hashtags have been used and you can select which social network you are most interested in. RiteTag works with most social networks: Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine and others.
This social tracking tool allows you to track any keyword, hashtag or URL on social media.
Do you use hashtags and is your approach different depending on the social network? Please leave your comments below:)