Top tips on how to use hashtags effectively in your social media marketing

Hashtags were first introduced on Twitter and since then, they’ve grown in popularity and are now found on a wide variety of social media channels including Facebook and Instagram. We only need to look at the power and success of the #IceBucketChallenge to see how important hashtags are, so today we’re sharing four tips on how to use them effectively in your social media marketing.

  1. Make it memorable

The best hashtags are ones that are memorable and relevant to the brand or product that you’re trying to promote. Your hashtag can directly promote your brand, so choose carefully – many global brands let customers do the advertising by using creative hashtags that are short and punchy. Using one word, for example #creative makes it difficult to track and monitor your campaign so try and make yours unique for maximum effect. A good example of this is a campaign by the shoe manufacturer Toms, where they used the hashtag #withoutshoes. They donated a pair of shoes for every person who shared a photo of their feet on Instagram, therefore tying in a charity campaign while using the hashtag as a way of positively promoting their brand.


  1. Do your research

Check each social media channel to ensure that your hashtag isn’t being used for the wrong reasons and make sure you don’t pick something that can be interpreted in a different way. Take a look at this examplefrom McDonalds where their #McDStories campaign backfired.

It’s also worth making sure that another brand isn’t using your hashtag specifically for their own promotion too. Sometimes you can tap into certain industry related hashtags; we often use #construction and #workatheight for some of our clients and both of these work effectively to target B2B customers.

Location-based hashtags such as #sheffieldissuper are a great way of increasing engagement with local followers, as long as your Tweet is relevant and relatable. If you’re tweeting about something in a specific geographical area, hashtags are a great way of connecting with the local community. Used successfully, they’re great for creating online conversation, raising brand awareness and hopefully increasing sales too.

  1. Use the hashtag consistently

Hashtags should be used in all relevant tweets as this makes them easier to track and is great if you use social media to share a wide range of products or topics. If you’re sharing any photos or graphics, reinforce the message of your campaign by adding the hashtag in one of the corners (see the below example from Oreo). This adds a visual element to your campaign and helps it to stand out. Using hashtags consistently rather than on the odd occasion also demonstrates that you understand social media, which is an important element of building up a good online reputation.


  1. Engage with your audience

If people are using your hashtag, start a conversation. Engagement is the key to social media marketing so communicate with your audience – don’t forget to use the like and retweet features too!

Real time tweeting is a great way to increase engagement. If there is a TV programme or event in the news that relates to your industry, using the appropriate hashtag is a great way to connect with others in the industry and these kind of tweets get much higher impression rates.

Twitter recently announced the most popular hashtags of 2015 and these included #JeSuisParis, #RefugeesWelcome and #Elections2015, therefore demonstrating the effectiveness of real time tweeting around the world. Twitter’s Trending Topics can a useful tool for your social media marketing and pinpoints the most popular real time hashtags on a global, national and regional scale at any one time, for example #JuniorDoctorsStrike has been a trending topic this week.
There are a number of time specific hashtags that can be used to share content and these include:

  • #tiptuesday – a great opportunity to share any tip related blog posts
  • #tbt (Throwback Thursday) – an ideal way of sharing old content from your blog or tweeting about a popular event or photo
  • #FF (Follow Friday) – your selection of people or brands that you’d recommend following


Hashtags are an essential part of any social media marketing campaign. When used successfully, they are memorable and consistent, leading to increased engagement with potential customers.

If you need any help with your social media marketing, have a read about how we can help by clicking here or give us a call on 01709 300130 or email

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