Hashtags are a powerful way to engage your audience and tap into relevant conversations. However, it can be difficult to determine the type of hashtag to use and how many hashtags are too many. In this week’s #SproutChat we discussed best practices for hashtag usage, particularly when engaging and growing a new audience.

Hashtags Have Different Purposes

Best practices on one social platform don’t apply to all platforms. Your hashtag strategy should reflect this and vary across platforms.

There Are Two Major Types of Hashtags

Brand and community hashtags can help you achieve your goal of growing your audience. But each serves a distinct purpose. Branded hashtags are always specific to a brand and typically contain a business name. Whereas community hashtags are broader and are created and used to allow your content to be easily discoverable. As brands try to strengthen their social communities, both hashtag types can often start to be used more interchangeably.

Grow Your Community & Broaden Your Reach

Hashtags are searchable and allow your brand to reach a wider audience. That’s one of the reasons why unique hashtags are the cornerstones of Twitter chats and Instagram communities. In addition to unique hashtags, create a genuine community by sticking with industry-adjacent hashtags and phrases.

Use Relevant Hashtags & Limit the Amount Used

Try to be strategic about your hashtag usage. Remember that you can get more out of less. Think of hashtags that your audience might be searching for and meet them where they’re at. Another way to find relevant hashtags is to research and benchmark against what your competitors are using.

We’ll be back next week Wednesday, May 24 at 2PM CDT to chat about social media savagery with Sprout Social’s very own Social Media Manager, Darryl Villacorta. In the meantime, network with bright folks within the industry in our #SproutChat Facebook group.