Quick Guide to Using Hashtags on Social MediaOctober 8, 2017
Hashtags are handy little symbols that can take your school's social media channels to the next level. Did you know that adding a hashtag to your post can increase both user visibility and reach? If your school leverages a range of different social networks, it can be tricky knowing how and when to use the right hashtags. To make things easier, we’ve put together a quick guide that'll take you through best hashtag practices for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
But first, some hashtag basics
A hashtag is a word or phrase that's used within a social media post to help people that are interested in your topic find it. For example, if you follow Digistorm on social media, you've probably seen us use #edtech on quite a few of our posts. This helps people interested in education technology easily find and read our content. There are plenty of trending hashtags out there that you can take advantage of, or you can create your own. Just a quick tip if you’re creating your own hashtag, be sure to choose words that relate directly to the general theme of the post.
This is where hashtags were born. Twitter hashtags are used for categorisation, allowing users to join different discussions and be included in threads. If you join or create a thread through hashtags you should be prepared to continue the conversation. The format for a Twitter hashtag is formal so try to use one-word tweets that are relevant to your post. As a general rule, it is also recommended to use a maximum of two hashtags per tweet. Using too many hashtags can dilute your message and confuse readers.
Instagram also uses hashtags for categorisation, however, the focus is around maximising image views and likes rather than joining a conversation. Feel free to add some creativity with your Instagram hashtags as users often use catchy phrases or rhyming words on this platform. A hot tip is to decide on one main school hashtag to use for every post. Take a look at this example from All Hallows School, here you can see they've created their own hashtag #ahsisters across all of their Instagram posts.
We recommend encouraging others to use your school hashtag when they're sharing school-related social media content. Getting parents and students to use the hashtag is an easy way to double your marketing messages and leverage user-generated content. Don’t forget that you can now add hashtags to Instagram stories as well as posts!
Using hashtags on Facebook serves relatively the same purpose as Instagram, but are often used less frequently. Facebook's stringent privacy settings mean that post visibility can be blocked if the account is on private, preventing posts from being seen by accounts that are not your “friend”, even when a hashtag is used. Still, there’s no harm in adding a school hashtag or two to your posts, but be warned, you're probably not going to see dramatic results from Facebook hashtag’s compared to other channels.
LinkedIn users can follow relevant hashtags to keep up with the latest news and join other school conversations. A handy feature is that you can access current hashtags that are trending by clicking the “Discover More” tab on the left side of your profile. This allows you to view which hashtags are gaining the most followers and traction. If there are popular hashtag’s that are relevant to your school you can add it to your posts to help optimise views. This feature also provides you with a sneaky insight into the type of content that competitors are posting with the same hashtags!
If you're a school marketer who's ready to become a social media aficionado, be sure to get your hands on our guide: The Complete social media toolkit for schools.