If you’re new to Instagram or Twitter, you may not have a full understanding of the popular social network and all of its features. You may go about your use of Twitter simply by creating tweets that adhere to the less-than-280-characters rule, or post really nice images on Instagram, but there are other aspects of both platforms that you need to use in order to be successful. One of the most important tools to make sure that you’re using on Instagram or Twitter are hashtags.

twitter hashtags
Hashtags are those words or phrases that you see in a tweet that follow the pound symbol. These little blurbs actually have an important role to play in Twitter and Instagram  and are meant to do much, much more than confuse you. The following are four benefits of using hashtags in your tweets and Instagram posts.

1. Make Tweets and Instaposts easy to find.

Using hashtags puts your tweets and pictures in certain categories. If your customers are interested in posts or tweets that have something to do with a certain topic, and if you use these hashtags in your tweets, your customers will be able to see your posts when they enter that hashtag into the search field. Doing this will generate a thread of all tweets or posts that contain that hashtag, and anyone—whether they follow you or not—will be able to see your post.

2. Learn what others are saying about the topic.

You can use hashtags to see what others have to say or show about the certain topics. For example, if your company is in the social media industry, you can perform a search for hashtags such as #socialmedia, #facebook, etc. to see what people are currently talking about. This allows you to learn new information, gain insight from others and join conversations about topics that you’re an expert in. In Instagram it works similar, grouping posts and pictures of a specific topic, or for instance often images made with the same gear such as #gopro or #iphoneography.

3. Categorize your own tweets and posts.

You have the power to create your own hashtag. If you have an upcoming event, create a hashtag that promotes it. This way, you can start including it in your Instagram posts and tweets, and if your posts are seen by a large enough group of people, your hashtag will start to pick up and people will start to use it to have discussions about that topic through Instagram and Twitter.

#landscape during #sunrise

4. Hashtags provide instant links to the trending topics, both in Twitter and Instagram.

When you use hashtags in your posts, the hashtag becomes a link that will lead your followers to more posts regarding that topic. Using hashtags allows your followers to easily find more information on the topics that you’re discussing by simply clicking on the hashtag, and providing your followers with more information is a great way to use Twitter to build relationships.

When you use hashtags in your tweets and Instagram posts, you open yourself up to a wider audience and categorize your tweets so that they are easier to locate. As a general rule of thumb, make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your posts and that you try not to exceed more than three hashtags per tweet, or 30 per Instagram posts. It’s also more beneficial if you include the hashtags throughout the tweet instead of listing them all at the end. If you use irrelevant tags, use too many tags or add them all at the end, most Twitter users will see your post and consider it spam, which will deter your tweeting efforts altogether. For Instagram, you can use the technique to put the hashtags in your post body, or as a comment after you’ve posted it.

In order to find which hashtags are trending, or are best to be used for short term or long term use, there are several tools available. One of them being Ritetag, which works wonders for both Twitter and Instagram. Another tool that does a great job of finding relevant hashtags, but does so much more then that is HelloWoofy, which is actually a whole multi-social media planning platform.

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