Usage Differences in Hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

We’ve all seen the notorious hashtag symbol appear in many different ways across social media, but how can it be used effectively? We hope to answer this question by shedding light on the most frequently used platforms for MTU social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What is a hashtag? 

A hashtag is a keyword or phrase begun by a hash symbol (#) (i.e., #MichiganTech #ThisIsTech #TomorrowNeeds). On social media, hashtags allow users to find posts relating to the specific hashtag. 

How are hashtags used?

Hashtags are also used to draw attention to a social media post. On both Instagram and Twitter, it is not uncommon for users to follow a specific hashtag. An example would be how the main Michigan Tech Instagram account follows #MichiganTech because we want to be able to see posts relating to the University. We also follow #UpperPeninsula and #MTUBound.

When in doubt trying to decide on a hashtag, check out our MTU Hashtag list.

All in all, hashtags are necessary because they help people find your social media content.

Twitter: 

Twitter has a limited character amount per tweet; therefore, when using hashtags on this platform, it is important to be succinct. 

Hashtag Recommendations for Twitter:

  • We recommend using one or two hashtags on a single tweet.
  • Only use hashtags when they are relevant to your tweet.
  • Look at the trending hashtags and if it makes sense to join in on the conversation, don’t hesitate to use the hashtag in a tweet!

Facebook:

Facebook has grown and shifted—and hashtag usage on the platform has, too. There are key factors and best practices to consider when using hashtags in Facebook posts. 

Users Cannot Follow a Hashtag on Facebook

Not being able to follow a hashtag on Facebook is one large reason why usage has gone down. On other platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, a hashtag that a user follows will show up directly in their feed, giving them an incentive to follow hashtags. Facebook does not have this feature.

Limit Hashtag Usage

Research from the Pew Research Institute indicates that the fewer hashtags you use, the higher engagement you will receive on a post. Sticking to relevant hashtags can improve your content engagement. 

Hashtag Consistency + Primary Hashtags Usage Across Social Platforms

Remaining consistent in hashtag usage across various social media platforms helps emphasize your brand’s overall voice. Followers will become familiar with your hashtags and may be more likely to engage with your post. Choose two or three hashtags to be your primary hashtags and use those on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to create a clearer brand voice. 

An example of primary hashtags for MTU’s official accounts would be #MichiganTech, #TomorrowNeeds and #ThisIsTech. 

Hashtag Recommendations for Facebook:

  • Don’t use too many hashtags (one to five).
  • Practice quality over quantity.
  • Consider primary hashtag use on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Instagram:

Think of hashtags on Instagram as tools that provide information about your post and support its content. You want your topic’s audience to be able to find your content.

“The highest average engagement rate by impressions (3.41%) is generated by posts with 3-4 hashtags.” (Social Insider, 2022)

Hashtag Recommendations for Instagram:

  • Limit your number of hashtags to three or four.
  • Use hashtags that are relevant to the theme of your content.
  • Use hashtags your target audience already uses.
  • Mix well-known and primary hashtags to broaden your discoverability.

Run an MTU social media account and need some guidance? Email @social@mtu.edu to get in touch with Michigan Tech’s social media team. 

The (Linked)Ins and Outs of Posting Jobs on Social Media

Students in this 2018 Career Fair photo are able to go straight to employers to talk about job listings. University positions, however, follow a format outlined by our HR department.

Michigan Tech’s main social media platforms are used for marketing, public relations, and communications for prospective and current students and alumni as well as partnering funding agencies, governments, and industries who support our research mission. 

Individual departments and other campus units have listed/advertised open positions on LinkedIn Jobs previously with permission through Human Resources. Job listings are an entirely separate function from what our social media team does and more like using Indeed or other digital job listing services.

Here’s an article about the job listing and recruiting functionality LinkedIn offers on its platform. Our Michigan Tech Alumni LinkedIn group frequently posts jobs and other opportunities, as do Alumni networks on Facebook — most of those options are private groups and you need permission to join. You can check with them to see how the groups are administrated and moderated.

We have seen many folks post the links from Human Resources job listings on their personal or departmental accounts to help get the word out to quality candidates about job openings. Sharing the HR link is a solid idea because it ensures the listing is in compliance with legal requirements and University hiring procedures.

Keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications editorial team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can.

For more tips, check out our social media field guide.

The Magic 7: Your Go-Tos For Social Media Content

There are as many ways to present your owned and earned content on social media as there are shades of blue.

We call it the Cerulean Belt Effect. Content presented on your blog, webpages, in your annual newsletter, at a conference, in an email—anywhere—is not a one-and-done. Present it distinctly, in many shades of the same hue, in many ways. Get it in front of different eyes in different spaces. 

In other words, don’t reinvent the wheel. Repackage, repurpose, and share your content everywhere.

As homage to the time-honored marketing rule of seven, check out seven ways, listed in order of importance, to mine content from what has already been created:

7) Your own blogs and web pages 

6) Michigan Tech YouTube

5) Michigan Tech News and Unscripted 

4) Google Alert (set one for your College, Institute, or Department)

3) Faculty accomplishments, teaching honors, and conferences

2) Flickr (Michigan Tech and other University-related accounts)

1) Student stories

Here’s another take on the Rule of Seven (and rethinking alphabetical lists) from marketing guru Seth Godin and more social media posting resources and more blog goodness from your UMC team.

Keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications editorial team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can. For more tips, check out our social media field guide.

Anatomy of a Social Media Post: Get to the Point

A Michigan Tech Twitter post populated from Instagram uses three hashtags and lets the visual do the heavy lifting.

Your social media posts won’t always be brief. But they should always start with the most important thing you want to share, whether that’s “Sound on!” for a video (because people tend to consume social media on their phones with the volume off) or a simple “Huskies win.” The amount of characters visible at the beginning of your post (as well as the amount of characters allowed) is different on each platform. But short and to the point is always the best way to begin, sharing your main message in the first 125 characters. Here are the latest allowable character lengths for posts on different platforms. Remember that just because a post can be this long doesn’t mean it should be: 

  • Facebook: 63,206, cuts to “see more” at 477 characters. 
  • Instagram: 2,200 (30-hashtag limit), 125 characters before it cuts to see “… more.”
  • Twitter: 280 limit including links, no cutoff but 71-100 characters gets most engagement.
  • LinkedIn: 700 on Company pages, 1,300 on personal accounts, 140 characters is the “… more” cutoff. 
  • Pinterest: 500 character limit per pin.

Check out more on character limits and other details about post length including tips for blogs and videos and keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can. For more insights, check out our social media field guide.

Get Your Social Media Icons and Connect

Now that you named your account something with Michigan Tech or MTU in it so your community can find you, it’s time to go for a social media icon. 

Find social media-sized icons in UMC’s brand resources. If you want a custom icon with your unit’s name, email social@mtu.edu and we’ll submit a design request.

Your platform banner should be a sharp, impactful photo. It’s best to avoid pasted-together collages, poster-style imagery or photos that aren’t high-quality.

All of the University’s active social media accounts are listed in our directory. Take a look and take the time to follow University accounts. Those moments you spend exploring other University accounts (those of us who tend to fall down the rabbit hole set a timer) will pay off in the long run. Because you’ll find excellent shareable content and see posts that inspire creation. See something you like? Do that.

We’ll take a look at the anatomy of a strong social media post next time. In the meantime, keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can.

For more tips, check out our social media field guide.

Administrators, Page Roles, and Not Getting Left in the Lurch

Ever been locked out of your department’s Facebook Page? It’s happened more than once at MTU. As a best practice, because Facebook is tied to personal accounts, it’s important to have one to three full-time permanent employees in your office as administrators, so that when a student graduates or an employee moves on, transitions can be handled smoothly. Having a core team of admins is also vital in emergencies. If the person who posts to your social accounts isn’t available and there’s a problem you need someone you can depend on to fix the issue fast. University Marketing and Communications has key leaders on both our communications and digital teams for just such social media situations. 

Some people don’t want to use their personal account for a department or organization Facebook. We understand. But you can’t make up a fake account for an administrator. If and when Facebook follows up—and the platform has become more vigilant about verifying identities—they’ll take down the page if the administrator is not a real person tied to an authentic account. That’s happened at MTU, too.

In the case of all the admins being shut out or if the only admin is no longer with the University, a person listed as an editor can try to get admin privileges if there is no administrator. This will require searching around in a morass of often unhelpful Facebook Help pages to find the correct form—the platform doesn’t make it easy! Here’s a WikiHow that may be helpful. This help page on Facebook might also lead you to somewhere useful.

Bottom line: the time has long passed when a social media account can simply be handed over to a student intern. A recent survey showed that 82 percent of your digital interactions with prospective students and other people you want to be in touch with will be on social media (Cision, State of the Media 2021). Having a fail-safe backup system for account administration is essential.

We’ll talk about icons and more getting-started tips next time. In the meantime, keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can.

For more tips, check out our social media field guide.

How to Choose a Social Media Account Name

Michigan Technological University 1885 with a Husky on a boulder sign with soft-focus trees in the background shows MTU's logo.

When you’re naming your social media accounts, make it easy for folks to find you by using your actual name.

Bands are a good example of why that makes sense. Unless you’re a super fan or the group is Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, remembering individual band member names is nowhere as easy as simply knowing the name of a solo performer who goes by their actual name. 

Sure, we get that your department or organization’s full formal name is usually too long for a social media handle. You can include the formal name in your About section and choose something more abbreviated for your account name. What do the people you already interact with call you? Go with that. Examples include @michigantechhumanities (Instagram) and Michigan Tech College of Business (Facebook). 

Avoid symbols, acronyms, numbers and any other choices that aren’t intuitive to the audiences you want to engage with—for example, @AASMM_1885 doesn’t have the same search capability or user-friendly qualities as @MineralMuesumofMTU (the Facebook Page for A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan Tech).

If it’s a University account, make your Michigan Tech affiliation clear, using MTU or Michigan Tech. Please follow MTU’s editorial guidelines by not using Michigan Tech University in social media or anywhere else. It leads to confusion about what kind of university we are.  

If you can, use the same name across all platforms where you have a presence. If you might join other social platforms in the future and want to ensure the name is reserved, as well as preventing others from unofficially nabbing the name, it’s a good idea to set up an account under your preferred name. You can activate it when you’re ready.

If you have the resources, it can be useful to set up a brainstorm with others in your unit to narrow down name choices. Once you settle on a name, head over to the Michigan Tech Social Networks directory and submit your account using the handy-dandy button in the right navigation pane. 

We’ll talk about account administrators next time. In the meantime, keep the social media questions coming to the University Marketing and Communications team at social@mtu.edu. We’ll get to as many as we can as fast as we can.

For more tips, check out Michigan Tech’s Social Media Field Guide.