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 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 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.
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 @firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with Michigan Tech’s social media team.