Hashtags are such a prominent part of culture today that it’s difficult to find anyone who doesn’t know what they are (apart from my Dad maybe). In fact, the hashtag is so recognised that it was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2010, and the Scrabble Dictionary in 2014 (#official).

Yet even as most people have come to know what they are, many people still don’t understand how to use hashtags. Knowing how to use hashtags is fundamental to your success on social media. Here are a few best practices to help you achieve that success.

Hashtags, once your phone’s pound sign, now have a place on most popular social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. The hashtag is likely the most popular means of categorising content on social media. It makes your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses. The hashtag also allows you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common theme or interest.

How to Use Hashtags (and DO use them…)

Be specific

Find a passionate like-minded community (I think we know one of those).  One that shares an interest in one specific theme. The more specific you can get with your hashtags, the more targeted your audience will be.  A targeted audience generally means better engagement.  Say, for example, your business sells wedding shoes. Instead of using #shoes—resulting in finding posts about every type of shoe – opt for #weddingshoes.

Do cater hashtags to the social network you’re using

While hashtags across all social networks have the same underlying purpose of content tagging and therefore discovery, the use of hashtags still varies by network.

Hashtags on Instagram are often more focused on the description of the content. This is at odds with Twitter, where hashtags tend to be more focused on a topic of conversation, or a group of people (a chat for example) that you would like to engage.

Before using hashtags, do research on the proper way to use them for that particular network.

Do come up with relevant, unbranded hashtags

Brand hashtags shouldn’t mention your brand name but should represent your brand and what you stand for.  #QuintessentiallyHampshire is just such one of these.

The Hampshire Wedding Club created the hashtag, #quintessentiallyHampshire. We use it to share Hampshire inspired wedding content by our members and the wider community.

Seeing photos and content from people on the official HWC account has quickly prompted more of their followers to embrace the hashtag and share their own photos. As such, the company has created a growing movement that supplies them with fantastic, follower-generated content to use on their social accounts.

Brand hashtags are also great for user-generated content campaigns and contests.

Not only does a brand hashtag drive participation and engagement, but it will also organise all the posts that are tagged with on a hashtag page. This is helpful if you’re using the hashtag to collect entries for a promotion or contest.

Brand hashtags are also a great way to raise awareness for campaign and initiatives.

We used #pylewellunveiled at a recent launch for Pylewell Park, a stunning wedding venue in Lymington.  We used the branded hashtag to really refine, engage and educate the public on this incredible venue, making maximum impact through the build-up, launch and opening of the house.

Focus on your location:


Focus on suppliers:


Focus on a venue:




Events and Entertaining:


Focus on a date:


Focus on your audience:


Get romantic:


Home office and Workplace:


Coaching and self development:


Creative Community:


Now let’s think about tagging… Whether at a shoot or real wedding, make sure you know who the suppliers are. By tagging suppliers in both the post and on the image, they will theoretically engage and share. Not only this, you’ll be building a community of friends who support and recommend you.

First of all, HOW to tag on Instagram.

It’s actually very simple. During the upload process, just beneath where you’ve typed your caption, there is an option to Tag People. Simply tap this option and you’ll be taken to a new screen where you can tap anywhere on the image to place a tag. This allows you to pick a person, thing, product, or specific area of the image. Once you tap the location, a little tag will appear that says “Who’s This?” and a search bar will appear.

Simply start typing the name or username of the person or Instagram account, select them from the list of drop-down options and their name will be populated into the tag.

You can also tap and drag the tag around if you want to reposition it on the image. Or tap it once, an “X” will appear and you can delete the tag.

To back out of the tagging screen, tap the “X”. To confirm the tags, tap the checkmark. You’ll be returned to the upload screen where the name(s) of those tagged appears next to “Tag People”. Continue your upload process and you’re all done!

If you want to tag someone after you have already uploaded and shared your post, go to that post, and tap on the 3-dot button below the image. Select “Edit” from the pop-up menu and you’ll notice the little black tag in the bottom corner of the image that says “Tag People” next to it. Tap that tag and you’ll be taken to the tagging screen as described above. Follow the same process of finding and selecting those users to be tagged in the image and tap the checkmark when complete. You’ll be returned to the edit screen where you can make further edits, or tap the check mark to approve the changes and save the tagged names to your post.

Once you or another user has been tagged in a post, the tagged person will receive a notification that someone has tagged them in a post. You can view this notification in your regular Activity (notifications) feed. When you go the tagged person’s profile, the little tag icon on the right of the four icon menu will be where the post is stored. You can see all the images that you have been tagged in, or photos another user has been tagged in (by going to their profile), by clicking on this tag icon.

See the example below:

Now that we know how to tag people on Instagram. let’s talk about some of the ways you can use this feature to your benefit.

When socialising somewhere or with someone on Instagram

If you are at a business location that uses Instagram, you can tag that business on your posts. Or if you’re socialising with someone who is on Instagram, you can tag them in your post. These are great ways to share the connection. When connecting with a business, this is beneficial to ensure they see your post and how you enjoy their location.

Something to consider, if you are at a concert, conference, or popular event, consider tagging people rather than @mentioning them in the post (or do both). Because Instagram only provides a limited number of notifications on your activity feed, it’s easy for @mentions to get lost in the clutter. Tagging someone ensures they see the notification and the image in which you tagged them.

Tag the company of the product or service in your post

If you want to reach out to your favourite brands, tag them in your posts that showcase their products or services. For example, if you just bought a new pair of designer shoes, tag the designer in the post of you wearing your awesome new shoes. If you attended a webinar with an industry expert host, tag the host in the image showing you watching the webinar.

While not everyone or every brand will respond, it is a good way to get on their radar. And if you get a response or shout out or regram from them, think of the additional reach and exposure that gives you!

Tag Your business partners or affiliates

If you have others that you collaborate within your business, tag them in your content on Instagram. If you are working on a project together, tag them in your post. If you have a post that showcases your products or services together, tag the other business in the post.

Be sure to share the love and promote the other companies and brands you associate with.


If someone has given you a testimonial or recognition for a job well done, you can post that message or a thank you to them and tag them to be sure they see the notification.

Beth and I will leave you with a little something funny to close this very important blog post, we do hope you enjoy it.


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