Hashtags! Everywhere you look these days, you see hashtags cropping up in social media. From humble beginnings on Twitter, hashtags have become the favorite method of tagging your content for easy identification and search potential. Of course, that doesn’t mean that hashtag strategy is always well understood – in fact, we frequently find that many businesses are uncertain just how hashtags work, or how they should be used effectively.

That brings us to this week’s podcast, where we discuss commonly asked questions about hashtags, and just what you need to know. For the full set of questions, be sure to listen to the full podcast. For our summary, we’re going to concentrate on the top questions for three popular social sites – Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube (hashtags are rarely used on Facebook, and don’t appear to make much difference there).

Instagram

Should You Put Hashtags in Comments or Captions?

It doesn’t matter! Your hashtags will work either way. However, since Instagram favors a larger numbers of hashtags, you may prefer to keep them in the comments, so they don’t in the way of your caption.

Do I Need Branded Hashtags?

A branded hashtag is one that’s unique to your business, and typically uses your business or product names in the hashtag so that no one else can really use it. Branded hashtags are typically useful when gauging your brand engagement and when looking for new content that your followers have tagged – they can also help newcomers find out more about your business.

How Do I Know What Banned Hashtags Are?

Banned hashtags are tags that Instagram will punish you for – they are typically overused, profane, or just spammy. You can find a good list of them here: This list does change over time! When using a general hashtag, make sure it’s not here.

LinkedIn

What are Some Common Ways to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn hashtags can be a good way to help people discover your company and learn more about you – a nice recruiting feature. They can also help promote your content and make it more discoverable for the general audience. However, LinkedIn hashtags tend to be very professional, so it’s a good idea to stay away from broad hashtags.

How Do I Follow Hashtags on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has a special tool for that. Follow hashtags that are important for your industry and products, and you will see their posts appear as part of your updates.

Where Specifically Do I Use Hashtags?

You can use them in your posts, or “Updates” whenever you create a new one. You can also add hashtags to any of your LinkedIn articles to make them more discoverable. Just type them in with the pound sign, like you would on Instagram! On articles, LinkedIn will help out by recommending hashtags based on your content.

YouTube

Where Do You Put Hashtags on YouTube?

You can put hashtags in the title or description on YouTube videos. However, putting them in the title can be tricky, since you want your title to make sense and be easily searchable.

How are Hashtags and Tags Different?

Tags are unique phrases that are specific to YouTube, and affect YouTube searches. You enter them in a different field than hashtags. Usually, there’s nothing wrong with simply copying your hashtags over to your tag section.

How Many Hashtags are Good for YouTube?

Never go beyond 15 – if you do that, all your hashtags are automatically disqualified. Stay simple and succinct where possible.

To expand on this last point a little, when using hashtags, don’t imitate the fashion blogs that put dozens of hashtags in one post: That can actually do more harm than good! In fact, after around two hashtags, their usefulness quickly decreases, so don’t be afraid to take it easy on your hashtags. Instagram hashtags are the most numerous and tend to have around a dozen or so on for many posts, but don’t feel like you have to meet that number.

Do you have any more questions about using hashtags, or how hashtag use has changed in the past few years? We want to hear them! Send any questions or tips to us at @21handshake on social media, and we’ll get back to you. If you enjoyed this episode, please take time to rate it five stars and share with a friend.