The Proper Way to Use Hashtags on Social Media

Simon Orgulan
6 minutes
January 12, 2024

Hashtags are a powerful way to get additional traffic on social media. Since they help social media algorithms classify content better, most of the platforms encourage you to use them as long as you don’t go overboard or start spamming.

From a marketer’s perspective, using hashtags makes plenty of sense. In exchange for a little bit of extra time that goes into researching the best hashtags to use in your post, you make your posts easier to get discovered by those who are searching for those keywords.

Although every social media platform has its own rules regarding the use of hashtags, for the most part, you’re encouraged to use them everywhere on the condition that they add some kind of value to the reader and that they are contextually relevant.

In today’s post, we’re going to touch upon the basics of using hashtags on social media, the dos, the don’ts, and the benefits of using them, as well as give you detailed guidelines and strategies on how to get the most out of them on various social media channels, including:

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Instagram

- Pinterest

- TikTok

- LinkedIn

But before we jump to these advanced platform-specific strategies, let’s briefly touch upon the essentials.

What are hashtags?

A hashtag is a group of keywords with ‘#’ in front of them (without spaces). An example would be the #MeToo hashtag that you’ve more than likely seen at least once in the recent couple of years. But the way you can use them goes far beyond social movements or raising awareness around a certain topic or social issue.

Reasons to use hashtags

There are plenty of reasons to use hashtags in your social media marketing campaigns. Having one of these objectives in mind will help you pick the most suitable ones:

1. Increase follower engagement

It’s a good idea to warm up your audience before you start selling something – typically, they will respond better to it. Think hashtags like #motivation, #sunnyday, etc.

2. Sell products

If you’re selling a certain type of products that are geared towards a specific niche, using hashtags will make your posts more visible to your target audience. A good example is #tennisracketsforkids and similar.

3. Grow your brand

Having #yourcompanyname be the first hashtag you mention is a good way to bring attention to your business.

4. Support a cause

In general, people prefer buying from companies that are in line with their personal values. So for instance, if your products are eco-friendly, don’t be modest about it and let them know by mentioning #ecofriendly, #green, and so forth in your posts.

5. Capitalize on a trend

Trends, whether they be temporary or seasonal, are a fantastic way to produce content around since they tend to strike a chord with people’s hearts. During winter holidays, for example, you could include #christmas or #holidayvibes.

6. Disclose a location

Posting selfies from your trip to Paris? Tag them with #france, #paris, or other geo-specific hashtags. It can also be the location of your business premises.

7. Disclose a partnership

Sometimes, social media influencers monetize their social media presence by selling affiliate products or post sponsored content. In case they’re promoting Nike shoes, for example, #nike or #fashion are both fitting hashtags to use.

8. Raise awareness

Our society is not perfect, and if you’d like to show support to groups of people who have been unfairly victimized by something or someone, consider using hashtags like #hurricanekatrina, #stopracism, or anything else that fits the occasion.

From raising awareness and all the way to increasing follower engagement and capitalizing on a trend, there’s plenty of ways to include hashtags in your social media posts.

The dos and don’ts of using hashtags on social media

Before we delve into specific guidelines and recommendations for each of the most popular social media platforms, a few general tips are in order that apply to all of them.

DO: Mind the number of hashtags you include

Maxing out the number of hashtags in every single post could get you flagged for spam and potentially even banned. Focus on relevance and diversity instead. Sometimes, append 5, sometimes 2, and sometimes none at all.

DON’T: Be irrelevant

In other words, don’t feel pressured to include hashtags only for the sake of doing so. Having your post mention a bunch of hashtags that have nothing to do with the actual content not only dilutes the quality and relevance of the search results, but also puts you on a fast track to getting your account reviewed by a moderator.

DO: Mix things up

It’s easy to fall into a routine when working. To some degree, this is a good thing, but you don’t want to come across as someone who puts zero thought into the content they create. Above all, you don’t want to give the impression you’re using a bot that does the social media posting for you (even if it’s true). The objective is to avoid getting your account flagged for spam, so steer clear of obvious patterns and don’t leave a trail behind. For instance, don’t always fall into the #brandname, #mainkeyword, #longtailkeyword pattern. Mix it up instead.

DON’T: Make your hashtags too wordy

Long-tail keywords tend to be wordy by nature, but as a general rule of thumb, give preference to hashtags that are short and easy to remember.

DON’T: Forget to make your account public

Forgetting to set your account to public may seem like a rookie mistake to make, but it happens. Just something to keep in mind – if your social media marketing campaigns aren’t bringing you the results you want, this is one of the first things you should double-check.

Forgetting to make your account public can trip you up even if you’re a savvy marketer.

DO: Make things easy on you by using a hashtag generator

Although you should be quite capable of coming up with some great hashtag ideas just by reading our guide, there’s no reason to make things any harder on yourself than they need to be. Whenever you find yourself struggling to come up with anything decent, Ocoya’s built-in hashtag suggestion tool will jump to the rescue!

Once inside, simply navigate to the main page of the online app and locate the Travis AI section in the sidebar to the left.

After clicking on it, scroll through the vast selection of handy tools until you stumble across the Hashtag Generator. Open it.

Then, enter your product or brand name and briefly describe it in a couple of sentences and click ‘Generate’.

Ocoya - Social Media Hashtags

Voila! Now you should have plenty of hashtags to work with. Now it’s on you to choose the most relevant ones.

There’s also an even easier way - Ocoya can also generate relevant and trending hashtags within the caption editor. Simply click on the ‘Quick Hashtags’ button and the hashtags will be generated instantly - all of which will be relevant to your caption and trending at this moment in time.

Ocoya - Social Media Hashtags

In-depth hashtag usage guidelines for the popular social media platforms

Now that you have a solid general idea of what you should be doing, it’s time to take an in-depth look into specific social media platforms and examine the best practices in regard to using hashtags. Here are our recommendations:


What’s the ideal number of hashtags for Facebook?

Although you could theoretically use as many hashtags for Facebook as you want, industry experts suggest it’s likely to do more harm than good and make your posts less noticeable. The ideal number of hashtags for Facebook is anywhere between 0 and 3.

Where to find hashtags for Facebook?

While there are many tools that will help you find hashtags for Facebook (just Google them), you can also search for some within Facebook directly through its built-in search bar. Entering a search query that’s based around a general hashtag, click on one of the results to see what other hashtags people are using that are relevant to your own content.

Other things to keep in mind for Facebook

There’s no recommended way to include hashtags in your post on Facebook, although most would probably advise you to include them at the end. The fact of the matter is, you can also insert hashtags in Facebook comments, so feel free to get creative with this nugget of knowledge!

PRO TIP: Use Facebook’s hashtag performance tracker you can find at the following URL:

The reason why we haven’t made it clickable is because you need to construct your own URL at any time you wish to check how your chosen hashtags are performing. A good way to do this is to copy and paste the above into your browser’s URL bar, replace the YOURHASHTAG part with the one you wish to check (loseweight would be an example), and see whether your hashtag is getting any traction or not.


How many hashtags for Instagram?

Our research shows the answer depends on who you ask. Some say 1-3, others 3-5, and there are some social gurus who claim 20-30 is the sweet spot. We say trust your gut instinct and keep it sensible, relevant, and varied. The only hard-coded technical limitation is 30, which is the absolute maximum the system allows you to append.

Where to find the best hashtags for Instagram?

Whether you’re looking for hashtags for Instagram likes, hashtags for Instagram growth, or the ones suitable for another occasion, you’ll find plenty of useful tools online, and Ocoya is one of them. You can also find good hashtags for Instagram within the platform itself by navigating to the Explore section.

Other things to keep in mind for Instagram

Once you’ve discovered them, the ideal place to copy and paste hashtags for Instagram is at the bottom of the post. You can also include them in your comments and your bio to make your profile more visible.

In case you have a Business account, you will also be granted access to Instagram Insights, from where you can check how many views your posts have accumulated through the use of hashtags, thereby assessing whether your Instagram marketing strategy is bringing you the results you want.

Instagram - Social Media Hashtags


How many hashtags for Twitter?

According to Twitter’s official recommendations, you should use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet (but you won’t necessarily be sanctioned for it unless you try to push the limits to the extreme). We recommend using any number between 0 to 2 to keep things varied.

Where to find the best hashtags for Twitter?

There are many online tools that will suggest good hashtags for Twitter. Since these tend to come and go as the internet landscape evolves, we won’t mention any particular ones (however, feel free to Google them on demand).

Don’t forget that you can get great hashtag ideas from Twitter directly. Simply navigate to its main search bar and type in the main keyword and sift through the results to see what other hashtags people have chosen to append. Moreover, click the Explore section where you’ll be able to see what hashtags are trending.

Other things to keep in mind for Twitter

Twitter only allows a rather modest maximum of 280 characters per tweet and hashtags do count towards it. This is most likely the reason why Twitter officially recommends including only 2 hashtags per tweet. Location-wise, you can include them anywhere you see fit, whether it be in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a post.

Regarding retweets: yes, you can also include a hashtag when you retweet a post or when you reply to one!


How many hashtags for Pinterest?

At some point, Pinterest officials were quoted saying you should not use more than 20 hashtags per pin. However, you shouldn't take this at face value and try to understand where their advice is coming from instead. As any other social network, they are trying to encourage you to use relevant tags. Therefore, we suggest anything between 0 to 7 per post, but you might as well use more if the situation calls for it.

How to find the best hashtags for Pinterest?

In essence, Pinterest is a search engine for images. As you start typing in your main keyword, the platform will automatically suggest other relevant and long-tail keywords you can use. Each one of these, as long as it’s fitting, can be a great choice to drive some solid traffic to your pins.

Other things to keep in mind for Pinterest

As you’re about to make a new pin, keep in mind that hashtags for Pinterest go in its description section (ideally, at the end of it). Note that you’re limited by the 500 character max limit, so it’s best to stick to the most relevant ones rather than trying to cram as many of them inside as possible. Furthermore, the timing of when you decide to post a pin actually matters a lot on Pinterest. The idea is to post at a time when your audience is most active, so it’s best to experiment and pinpoint the optimal hours of when to post based on the results of your tests.


How many hashtags for TikTok?

Although TikTok is not as strict regarding the exact number of hashtags you should use per post, the optimal number is anything between 0 and 5. If nothing else, this is due to the character limit that TikTok imposes.

How to find the best hashtags for TikTok?

When searching for the best hashtags for TikTok to get likes, the good news is that you’ll be able to find them without having to rely on third-party tools. Start by navigating to its Discover page. From there, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best hashtags for TikTok views based on the ones that are currently trending. As always, you can also use TikTok’s search bar to gain inspiration from other users.

Other things to keep in mind for TikTok

Don’t limit yourself to the best hashtags for tiktok to get likes – for the most part, you should be striving for contextual relevance, using a mix of trending and niche-specific hashtags.

TikTok - Social Media Hashtags


How many hashtags for LinkedIn?

According to LinkedIn, you should use no more than 3 hashtags per post, so we recommend you mix it up and use anywhere between 0-3 and rely on your best judgment on a case-by-case basis.

Where to find the top hashtags for LinkedIn?

You can use any social media tool you like. Also, you may not even have to venture outside of  LinkedIn to find some good ones, straight from the platform’s built-in search bar. In fact, as you compose your post, LinkedIn will automatically suggest the best ones to use.

When pondering on how to choose hashtags for LinkedIn, don’t forget the tried and proven method of learning from your competition. Find some posts you like by searching for a hashtag and see what other hashtags the authors decided to include.

Other things to keep in mind for LinkedIn

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is geared towards professionals, so you should give preference to formal-sounding hashtags.

To get the most of your social media marketing campaigns, you should utilize hashtags to their maximum potential. Aside from contextual relevance, popularity, and other factors we’ve covered in this post, you should also take every platform’s individual guidelines into consideration. If you manage to get it right, your social media content will benefit from extra exposure and your brand will grow as a result.

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