The hash symbol # is paired with words to create “hashtags” on social media platforms. Hashtags are like keywords; they enable searchers to find posts about specific topics. Most platforms allow search by hashtag, and others even let you follow certain hashtags instead of users. For example, you might follow the hashtag #finejewelry on Instagram. Your feed would populate with posts tagged #finejewelry, regardless of whether you follow the account. Following hashtags helps you discover new accounts and follow trends.

Hashtags are often used at the bottom of posts. Different platforms allow you to use a certain amount of hashtags (Instagram limits you to 20 hashtags per post, while Twitter posts are subject to character counts). Different marketers recommend different approaches; some suggest only using 3-5 hashtags per post, while others recommend using the maximum amount each time. Regardless of how many hashtags you use, it’s best to use only those that apply to you and not random or “trending” hashtags.

Use specific and meaningful hashtags in your posts. Instead of #jewelry, which is used by a lot of people on a huge variety of posts, hashtags that are about your post are more likely to generate engagement. On the other hand, hyper-specific hashtags are not often searched. Choose hashtags used on a few thousand to a few hundred thousand posts (5,000 - 500,000) on Instagram or Pinterest. Twitter is more ephemeral, so hashtag usage matters less.