The Writer’s Journey is a column dedicated to different styles of writing and the exploration of one writer’s path to publication.

Written by Samantha House

As I explained in The Power of the Hashtag, this innocent looking symbol (#) can enable your content to reach audiences far and wide, and although there are many similarities in how hashtags are used across varying social media platforms, there are some slight differences, as well. We’ve already covered hashtags according to Instagram, so today, let’s take a look at how to use them properly on Facebook and Twitter.

The Differences Matter

Hashtags on Facebook and Twitter are slightly different than on Instagram. While the same rules regarding punctuation, spacing, and capitalization apply across all social media platforms, the best way to use them changes depending on which platform you’re using. For example, Instagram works best if several hashtags are attached to posts, but Twitter and Facebook work best with fewer, and Facebook in particular works best with only one hashtag per post.

But why?

To put it simply, it’s all about viewer engagement. You see, using more hashtags on your Instagram posts allows you to reach a wider audience, but with strict character limits, Twitter works best with fewer tags. Facebook, on the other hand, has ever-changing algorithms, so you’ll be better served using one hashtag that is immediately recognisable as your ‘brand.’

Hashtags on Facebook

Facebook’s mysterious algorithm filters billions of searches every day, and with so many users posting similar content, it makes sense to employ a function that  narrows searches as much as possible. Were you to type #poetry in the Facebook search bar, you’d end up with a list of results that spans everything from videos and pages to communities and groups many of which having nothing to do with poetry. Yes, you can narrow your search by filtering the results, but this can only happen after the initial search (and the process isn’t exactly efficient), so it pays to have a particular tag associated with you and your content.

Her Heart Poetry, for example, uses the tag, #herheartpoetry, for every Facebook post instead of the generic #poetry.

This concept can be applied to other social media platforms, too, because building your brand is important whenever gaining notoriety is a priority, but it’s extremely obvious on Facebook because of its large user base.

Compared to Instagram, getting your content seen solely through the use of hashtags is much more difficult on Facebook. For this reason, many users link their accounts on Facebook with Instagram in an attempt to broaden their readership. When this is the case, you’ll notice that the account holder will use a single hashtag – two at most – in the post caption on Instagram and multiple hashtags in the comments section to keep in line with optimization for both platforms.

What about Twitter?

Twitter is, once again, a different ball game from other networks, the biggest of those differences being the dreaded character limit. These limits inhibit how much space you have to type, so how many tags you use in conjunction with your tweet is also severely limited. Hashtags on Twitter, as opposed to Instagram and Facebook, are commonly used to gather support from like-minded individuals, probably because Twitter moves much faster and is similar to having a real-time conversation with someone.

Like other social media platforms, you can search tweets using specific hashtags, and the most recent entries will show. I commonly use #amwriting and often search it to see what other writers are up to.

I have never searched that hashtag and seen results come back with fewer than 100 tweets.

The hashtag #ShareYourRejections is another popular one among writers and is a good example of how Twitter is used to support one another. If you’re looking for a good laugh, searching #parenting will point you in the direction of many parents sharing their more “out there” moments being a parent creates. Search all kinds of hashtags, though! The sense of community found on Twitter using a few simple hashtags really is amazing.

There you have it, beautiful people: a quick run-down on hashtags and how they work on Twitter and Facebook. Just like Instagram, hashtags can take a little getting used to – especially if you’re the type who gets confused trying to keep all the variances organized in your mind. Once you get it, though, they’re a great way to reach a larger audience, build your brand, and foster a sense of community. If you ever have any questions about how to use hashtags properly, you’re welcome to leave a comment here or contact me via Instagram. The entire Her Heart Poetry team is happy to help out, as well. Happy tagging!

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