Attention is the most powerful currency in today’s world, especially on social media platforms. However, high-quality content alone does not guarantee a large number of followers. The goal for many social media users is to gain as many followers and likes as possible on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. To promote your social media content on a large scale, hashtags are the perfect tool. They act as a label for your posts, sparking user interest and targeting specific audiences. Hashtags allow for thematic classification of messages and tweets and integration into keyword searches.
What is a hashtag? Understanding the pound sign
You’ve likely encountered hashtags while using social media. Twitter, the microblogging service, introduced these popular keywords accompanied by a pound sign (#) in 2007. In addition to Twitter, hashtags are also used on Instagram, the photo-sharing service acquired by Facebook Inc. a few years ago. Since a tweet on Twitter (X) cannot exceed 280 characters (previously 140), hashtags are an ideal way to group tweets by topic. Instagram, a visual network for sharing photos and videos, also fully established hashtags to label content and enable written communication. Users also employ hashtags on Instagram or Twitter (X) to provide emotional responses to messages.
The term “hashtag” combines the English words “hash” and “tag.” While “tag” means “keyword,” “hash” refers to the pound sign (#). Keywords allow you to filter information quickly and specifically, track trends, and follow current topics.
More about hashtags
Hashtags are an essential part of almost all social networks. Although various social channels differ in their functions and intentions, hashtags are used across nearly all platforms.
Unlike other tagging methods, hashtags are inserted directly into the post, accompanied by the pound sign, and can be integrated both within the post or at the end of messages. Users typically create hashtags, which are then copied and used by others. The rapid viral spread of the most popular hashtags leads to global discussions on various topics.
Trends and thematic relevance
As a user, when you search for a specific hashtag on a social network, all public messages and posts linked to that keyword are displayed. Lists of the most popular hashtags are available to users on all major networks, allowing them to follow daily global trends. Thus, hashtags are useful for researching current topics and debates worldwide. If you want to promote posts related to a specific term – for example, to run an advertising campaign – you need to find the best hashtags fitting the topic, as their use can lead to increased reach for your content.
Gaining more followers: here’s how it works
On average, 125 million different hashtags are used worldwide daily, and every user is free to use and create new ones, as they are not associated with rights or privileges. The creation of the first hashtag is attributed to Chris Messina, who came up with the idea of grouping tweets by topics to make social media content more accessible to users. He has opposed filing a patent, as it could hinder the spread of these terms.
Essentially, hashtags consist of letters, numbers, and emojis, but they do not support punctuation marks (.,;:!?, etc.) or spaces, which mark the end of a hashtag if used. For example, the hashtag #follow for follow would be assigned to the keyword #follow.
Special characters like $, %, or & are not compatible with all client programs, so they should be avoided. A hashtag like #Romeo&Julia may be interpreted as #Romeo, #Romeo&, or #Romeo&Julia, depending on the client program.
The underscore (_) is an exception: if a hashtag must contain multiple words, they should be written without spaces or combined with underscores. For example, both #summervibes and #summer_vibes would be valid.
Hashtags are not case-sensitive, but for better readability when composed of multiple terms, each new word should start with an uppercase letter. Two ways to write hashtags that yield the same results are:
Searching for both hashtags will return the same result.
In principle, you can use hashtags in any language. However, English keywords have the most extensive reach, not only because it is the lingua franca of the internet, but also because it does not use special characters that may be incompatible with the hashtag format.
- Appropriate selection: Consider your target audience. Try to select relevant keywords for a user group and associated with your message’s topic. Before posting, check if relevant hashtags already exist and are linked to your post’s theme. A quick search often reveals many related hashtags on the subject. If necessary, create your own hashtags.
- Right mix of hashtags: Popular hashtags extend your content’s reach. However, attention or desired visits are not guaranteed. For popular hashtags, you’ll compete with many users posting content with the same keywords, so your posts might get lost in the abundance. To stand out, rely on niche-specific hashtags or surprise with your own clever creations. Ideally, use a mix of both general and specific hashtags.
- Correct quantity: Don’t be afraid to use multiple hashtags per post, as each contributes to your content’s distribution. However, pay attention to the topic’s relevance and avoid using too many hashtags or mixing various subjects. Focus on your content, not on the set of keywords; otherwise, users may reject your posts as spam or deceptive content. The optimal number of hashtags depends on the platform: Twitter (X) users should use them moderately due to character limits, while Instagram users have more freedom for a considerable group of hashtags.
- Optimal placement: Hashtags should always appear at the end of the post’s text for good readability. Integrating a hashtag directly into the body and at the beginning of the post is only recommended if you explicitly want to address the hashtag or refer to it. On Instagram, users are divided on hashtag placement: some use the best hashtags in the image description, while others add them in the first comment under the photo. The latter makes the keyword group less prominent, and the contribution looks more natural. However, this option’s downside is that between posting and adding the comment with hashtags, other new posts may appear, causing your content to lose positions in favor of more recent publications with similar hashtags.
Applications like TagsForLikes are useful tools for storing the best hashtags in an organized manner and adding them to your message or post with the “copy and paste” option.
Popular Hashtags: Essential Tags for Your Social Media Posts
There are no universal or timeless hashtags that guarantee success. However, a detailed analysis can quickly help increase the reach of your posts. To do this, it’s helpful to look at the latest figures on the most popular hashtags. The website top-hashtags.com offers a ranking of the best hashtags and updates the figures daily.
The following list of trending hashtags can help you use them effectively. Keep in mind, however, that these are popular hashtags, so there will be many posts containing them, and yours might quickly drop in the search results.
Followers and Likes:
#likeforlike; #followme; #follow; #follow4follow; #tagsforlikes; #followforfollow
#tbt; #repost; #nofilter; #ootd
Feelings and Reactions:
#love; #beautiful; #happy; #cute; #fun; #smile
#photooftheday; #picoftheday; #selfie; #photography; #photo
#fashion; #style; #beauty
Fitness and Sports:
#fitness; #motivation; #gym; #fit; #workout
#travel; #holiday; #nature; #summer; #sun; #beach; #sunset
People and Relationships:
#me; #family; #friends; #girl; #boy
Food and Drink:
#food; #foodporn; #healthy; #yummy
Specific Hashtags for Instagram:
#instagood; #instadaily; #instalike