Use #hashtags to reach your audience on Instagram and Twitter


Using hashtags on social media, especially on Instagram and Twitter, can be an effective way to enter conversations and get your content in front of new eyes. But when used incorrectly, they can distract your audience and disrupt your messaging.

Users click on hashtags to discover more content. They want the hashtags associated with the posts they’re browsing to be relevant, interesting and worthwhile. That’s why you want to be careful not to overdo it by adding too many hashtags. And, you don’t want to waste people’s time by adding the wrong hashtags.

Use the right number of relevant hashtags in your social media content, and you’ll be sure to boost your engagement and increase your brand’s reach.

Here are some tips for how to hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to attract new followers and engage your loyal fans.


Use relevant hashtags

It’s a good idea to use hashtags in your Instagram captions that are trending and popular. You should also incorporate hashtags that are relevant to your brand, local area and industry. Incorporating both kinds of hashtags into your content will help you get new eyes on your businesses Instagram content and boost your engagement.

What’s considered relevant? Anything your followers would find interesting or anything you think might help your post reach more people on the platform.

Trending hashtags

You can see what hashtags are trending (the hashtags people are using most) by typing a hashtag into Instagram’s search bar. Here, you can see not only related hashtags, but also how many times each hashtag has been used.

Note: You can add up to 30 hashtags per post, but when you go over 10, engagement starts to drop.

Brand hashtags

You can create a hashtag unique to your brand that your loyal fans can use to talk about your business. It can just be #thenameofyourbusiness or you can get a little creative. For example, if you run a local gym with cross-fit classes, you could create a hashtag like #CrossfitNation.

Industry hashtags

Using industry hashtags is a good way to capitalise on users who are looking for the next place where they can get their next meal, drink or haircut. For example, if you own a bar, use hashtags like #happyhour or #thirstythursday. Think about what your community is searching for and add that into your captions to capture their attention.

Local hashtags

Another good tip is to incorporate local hashtags that are popular in your community. You can grab the attention of people searching specifically for businesses like yours in your area by harnessing the power of the Instagram community in your city or town.

For example, Cape Town visitors and residents might look for dining options using the hashtag #capetownfoodies.


Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags.

So, what hashtags should you use? The same rules that apply on Instagram also apply on Twitter. Use tweets that are relevant and interesting to your business, local area and industry. If your business account is public, any users who search for a hashtag you’re using may find your tweet in their search results.

Trending hashtags

Twitter makes it easy for you to see what’s trending. While on your Home page on Twitter, you will see on the left-hand side that Twitter has gathered “Trends for you”. This is based on who you follow and how you interact with other uses on Twitter. If you click the word “change” in that menu, you can further customise the trending hashtags you see to make sure you’re interacting with the people who would be likely to walk in your door.

Brand hashtags

You can use the same brand hashtags you’ve created on Instagram and Twitter. You can also create a hashtag that gives your followers something to look forward to every week. For example, #MondayEats, #LiveMusicWednesday or #TriviaTuesday.

Industry hashtags

On Twitter, it’s best to add one or two industry-related hashtags to your tweet to attract users to your page. However, it’s important to note that using keywords you want users to find in your tweet without hash-tagging them is just as effective on Twitter.

Local hashtags

Using localised hashtags is very important on Twitter to attract users in your local area. Many users use the Twitter search bar like they use Google’s search bar. For example, they might type in “manicure in Mbombela”. You want your beauty salon’s page to show up in those search results, so make sure your tweets include your product and the name of your city i.e. #ManicureMbombela or #manicure #Mbombela.

Remember, you’re using hashtags to get the attention of social media users who are looking for small businesses just like yours. Before you post on Instagram or tweet anything, take a second and think about how you want your audience to react to your post and what hashtags you can use to get new eyes on your brand. That way, more new users and loyal fans will interact with your posts and boost your engagement.

This article has been adapted from an original piece by Caroline Barker.

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