Home Social Media Marketing Use Hashtags To Expand Reach And Grow Your Business

Use Hashtags To Expand Reach And Grow Your Business

by Caren Waugh

What Is a Hashtag #?

A hashtag is a symbol or label that is prefaced by the pound symbol (#). It is a form of metadata that facilitates a search for similar key words, phrases and topics of interest.

While hashtags can be used by anyone to find public conversations or posts that reference a specific phrase or topic, hashtags are excellent marketing tools that are popularly used on social media networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram among others.

Businesses that are seeking to increase brand awareness or expand their reach can include hashtags as part of their social media marketing strategy. In order to make their brand or content more discoverable providing they know how to use them effectively. 

Hashtag Rules On Different Platforms

Every social media networking site has its own rules that govern the use of hashtags that businesses must be aware of in order to gain the desired outcome. For example, while Twitter and Instagram may have similar effects in terms of reach and engagement, Twitter limits each tweet to 280 characters in length which will impact the message you want to transmit to your audience. Hence, care must be taken when using hashtags on Twitter so that the most important information is not omitted.

Previously research revealed that the use of hashtags on Facebook was not effective and could even lower organic reach, but as social media evolves Facebook  is now prompting users to add hashtags to their posts to increase reach.  As a result, marketers are reportedly seeing an increase in reach with their use of hashtags on Facebook.

How To Use Hashtags Effectively

Apart from knowing the rules that govern the use of hashtags on each platform so that you can use them correctly, it is also important to know what hashtags are currently trending in your industry so that you can use them to increase brand awareness and extend your content reach to a newer audience. 

This requires consistent research using hashtag analytics tools, most of which are free.  These include, RiteTag, Keyhole, Pixlee, Twitter analytics, and Hashtagify. Whether you are creating branded hashtags, connect with your target audience, building community, monitor your reach or conversations about your brand, hashtag research using these tracking tools will provide you with current hashtag listings that are relevant to your brand, as well as top hashtag’s estimated reach, the top companies and influencers that are using similar hashtags, how your branded hashtags are being used, how they perform over a certain period and future projections.

Hashtag analytics tools provide an overall analysis from both brand and customer perspectives which will enable businesses to monitor their social media marketing efforts.

More importantly, social media platforms create the hashtag system to bring people that share the same interests in one space so that businesses can deliver the right content to their target audience.

Hashtag Overuse

While providing great benefits, the overuse of hashtags can actually have a negative impact on the business goals you are trying to accomplish.

To achieve the greatest benefits, you must have a clear strategy in mind or else your message will be ineffective or get lost in the social media traffic.

Currently, social media networking sites makes it easy to add hashtags to your posts. For instance, once you create a post and select a keyword, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter among other social media platforms generate a hashtag list with the most popular and brand specific hashtags that you can add to your message for increased reach.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all, it is advisable to narrow down to the most important hashtags and use a smaller number as it is easier for brands to compete in smaller groups and users are more likely to locate what they need when they search for something specific.

For example, although Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be included in one post it doesn’t mean you should use all 30 every time. While there is no optimal number, using less hashtags in one post allow you to better highlight your captions or the message you are trying to convey and prevent your content from getting lost in the mass of data on social media. Most popular brands use between two to five hashtags per post.  Using the same hashtags repeatedly in the same order or too many in one post may appear “spammy” and place you on a blacklist. To avoid this practice, rotate your hashtags and consider the purpose of your message and use hashtags that your target audience is actually interested in and are following. You can also generate your own hashtags as this is a great strategy to promote your brand and also encourage user-generated content.

7 Top Hashtag Benefits

  1. Make content easier to find by organizing posts in themes and categories
  2. Encourage audience interaction
  3. Provide information on trending topics
  4. Monitor competition
  5. Connect with influencers
  6. Enhance social media presence
  7. Maximize return on invest (RIO) through brand campaign


Hashtags are excellent marketing tools to use to establish your social media presence, grow your audience and achieve your overall marketing goals. For  optimal performance and maximum benefits, marketers and social media managers must understand the correct use of hashtags in order to build an effective strategy for their businesses.

The most important things to bear in mind when deciding what hashtags to use are the purpose of your message and what your target audience is searching for and following. 

 Always follow the rule that less is more and avoid using too many hashtags on a single post to avoid spammy behavior or risk getting lost in the social media traffic.

The hashtag scope is very wide so always narrow down to the most relevant hashtags.


For more information on how to grow your small business on social media please leave comments below.

Caren Waugh is the CEO of CW Media Consultants, a proven communications and social media strategist, blogger, and print media contributor who helps small businesses to create brand awareness, strengthen customer relations, and shape their online marketing endeavors with winning social media strategies

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