4 Steps To Using The Right Hashtags


Hashtag (noun)

A word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In 2014, “hashtag” was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If that’s not an indication of how important hashtags have become, I don’t know what is! A hashtag is used in social media to categorize a message. It is the pound sign followed by a keyword (i.e., #keyword). A hashtag immediately expands the reach of your message beyond just those who follow you to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.

But how do you find the right hashtags for your content and make sure you’ve got them in the right number on the right social network? Let’s break it down into four easy steps.

1. How many hashtags should I use?

Before beginning anything else, you should know these basic guidelines for how to use hashtags on each popular social network.


Twitter is king when it comes to hashtags; after all, it’s where they originated! Research shows brands that use one or two hashtags can see a 50 percent increase in engagement. As measured in these studies, engagement can include clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies. However, using more than two hashtags can actually decrease your engagement by an average of 17 percent.

Editors Note: Twitter is still a somewhat viable social media platform as of 11/16/22.


As a general rule, it’s better to stay away from hashtags on Facebook because they’re not really needed for post-performance and searching abilities. Not to mention, because there’s no need for them, they can hurt the image of your brand that you’re trying to portray on social media.


Instagram is the best medium for hashtags because it doesn’t matter how many you use. Interaction is actually shown to be the highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags. You also might not find any tags in the main body of the caption. For aesthetic reasons, many users will put hashtags in the comments to keep the caption clean and tidy.


Like Instagram, TikTok is the best medium for hashtags! And it is kind of a free-for-all when it comes to hashtag usage. On popular creators or viral videos, you’ll often see that people will use a hashtag that often has a corporate sponsorship attached to it to generate views.

@maplethesaint #fyp #maple #candycrush10 #saintbernardsoftiktok #YellowstoneTV #dogsoftiktok ♬ original sound – Maple Plops

2. What hashtags are influencers using?

We’re not going to lie – that’s kind of hard to narrow down! It depends on what the influencer is influencing! If it’s a makeup influencer, they might use things like #makeup, #MUA, and then hashtags of the products they use. Gather up a few brands you like and look to see what they’re using. Or, search for a hashtag on any of the platforms of something you’re interested in and take note to see what the posters are using.

For example, one of my hobbies is getting tattooed! So, in order to follow more tattoo artists here in Texas, I might search #texastattooartist on Instagram like this:

And from there, I can see which artists jump out to me and follow them to see if they’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

3. Are there related hashtags I should consider?

Now that you have a few ideas for hashtags, you can visit Hashtagify.me to see which related hashtags might also be worth using. Pay specific attention to the circle size on your results; the larger the circle, the more popular the hashtag. Here is what the results page would look like for a search of #promoproducts:

Not every hashtag listed here will be relevant to you, but it does help to see some that you might not have previously considered. In this case, I might add #marketing.

4. Which hashtag is the best to use?

You can get solid data from RiteTag and their visual expression of how much each tag can boost your post’s reach. Among posts that contain the word “marketing,” RiteTag shows these tags as the most likely to be great, good, or overuse.

From this, you can conclude that #marketing is overused and instead want to use #contentmarketing. However, if your message is about promotional products, it probably isn’t related to content marketing, and you’ll want to stay relevant. In this case, #marketingtips could be a good hashtag for your message.

The “rules” of hashtags could fill a novel, but hopefully, you’ve learned the basics of finding the best hashtags to use in your social sharing. What hashtags do you routinely use on social media? We’d love to hear how you’ve put hashtags to work for your marketing strategy in the comments below!

Editors Notes: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.






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(Marketing Content Writer)

Betty is the Marketing Content Writer at SAGE. She is a self-proclaimed, bonafide nerd, and when she's not writing, you can find her playing video games, watching space documentaries, hunting for vintage Star Wars toys, and binge-watching the latest show on Netflix.

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