The Guide: Why Are Hashtags Powerful and How to Use Them?

Hashtags are everywhere. Chances are that you have already heard this term and seen that strange # sign. Well, nowadays hashtag sign is used on a daily basis by millions of people for many different purposes. Social media experts use it to promote their content, companies and brands use it to boost their presence and individual users use it to associate their statuses or photos with a certain topic and subject. Not all social media platforms use the potential of hashtags equally – Facebook is not the place where you see them too often, but if you are a user of Instagram or Twitter, then you surely see them (and probably use them) on a daily basis.

What is a hashtag?

Hashtag is composed of a word preceded by the pound symbol (#). It is an incredibly powerful tool in social media landscape because it allows your content to reach well beyond the group of people who follow your account. If you have a quality content and you want to target a particular audience, this is exactly when the power of hashtags comes into play. Namely, you can generate high exposure of your content to the right target groups if you choose your hashtags smartly.

Think like others, do your research on a relevant topic!

If you want to determine what are the best hashtags to use in your situation, you have to think about your target audience. What are they looking for? What do your readers or customers want? If you are targeting foodies and people who are looking for new food products, meals, restaurants, recipes or any of the related content, you would most probably want to use hashtags like #foodie, #foodporn, #foodstagram, #restaurant, etc. If your content, product or service is even more focused – let’s imagine you are presenting an organic food product, then you can go further and add hashtags like #eatgreen, #organic, #organicfood, #healthy, #superfood, etc. The key is to identify the popular hashtags in the niche market that you want to target in order to allow people to find your content. Research is very important and it is a never-ending process. Keep observing what the trending topics are in your niche market and modify along the way – add new hashtags, get rid of those that might be inaccurate, always stay on top of the game.

Thematic hashtags are not enough, choose your location!

Once you have identified your specific niche market hashtags, it is absolutely necessary to add a location-relevant hashtags. When you are trying to reach out to people in a specific city, region or a country, you need to use hashtags that are popular in those places. These are usually very simple e.g., a name of a particular place. However, don’t be limited to that, explore other popular hashtags that local people, bloggers and other influencers use in that location. For instance, popular hashtags for Brussels would be #Brussels #Bruxelles #Brussel but also #visitbrussels, #welovebrussels, #seemybrussels and #bruxellesmabelle. We encourage you to check out the list of the most hashtagged cities on Instagram. Moreover, to learn how cities use hashtags on Instagram to promote their place brands, read our recent study about European cities on Instagram.

Different platforms, different use of hashtags!

However, it is important to pay attention that not all social media platforms are the same. Hashtags that we have mentioned above are very popular on Instagram. On the other hand, if your focus is Twitter, bear in mind the unwritten rule of ‘three hashtags,’ as the most optimal way of posting on this platform. This is suggested because of the better readability of your tweets, but also for the purpose of visibility. Many case studies indicate that tweets with three or less hashtags have a better reach than those that have four, five or more hashtags. Therefore, our advice would be to choose one or two of your relevant thematic hashtags, and one or two of the geo/location-focused hashtags.

Creating your own hashtags?

Yes, this is something that you want to think about if you are creating and promoting your own project, brand, product or service. Initially having your own hashtag is not a ‘must,’ but creating one could get you ahead. Firstly, you can easier track down all the posts that you have for a certain topic (under a specific hashtag that you created). Secondly, you can use your own hashtags for your own ‘promotion’ purposes, either by inviting people to contribute their content using your hashtag, or simply by raising awareness and visibility of your project/idea with a distinct (or funny?) hashtag, which will be seen and hopefully shared by other people on social media.

Higher Engagement 

It’s indisputable fact that hashtags generate higher engagement. This is the simplest way to gain more visibility and let people discover you and your content. If you provide the good content, it is very likely that people will make the next step – interact with you and your content, discover your profile, click on your links, or perform any other desired action.


If you are trying to reach more people with your message, ideas, photos or any other content, be sure to use hashtags! It’s a simple and free way to reach new audiences and turn them into your followers and friends.

If you need advice with your social media strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We just love helping people, organization & businesses to succeed in the buzzing social media world.


Author: Boro

Boro works at an intersection of place branding, cultural diplomacy and digital strategy. He's also an engaged observer of EU affairs, travel and entrepreneurship trends. Boro is the founder of several successful initiatives and projects, always keen to support sustainability and local brands.

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