How Hashtags Work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Snapchat

They’re not new to the internet- so you probably know what a hashtag is… but did you know that hashtags work differently depending on what social platform you’re using? Although hashtags are common, the practical uses of a hashtag vary wildly between platforms. It can be a lot to know the ins-and-outs of each one, so here’s a quick and helpful guide.

For each social media platform, we’ll tell you what a hashtag’s primary function is, whether you can follow a hashtag or not, (more info on following hashtags in an upcoming article!) and some in-depth information on how to use hashtags effectively on that platform.

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Primary function: Search functionality and grouping posts
Followable: ?

Not a lot is known about the logistics or algorithms behind hashtags on Facebook. Independent research has found that using one singular hashtag seems most effective when looking at user engagement. So choose the hashtag that is most relevant and stick to one.


Primary function: Search functionality and grouping posts

Instagram posts can have up to 30 hashtags. If you go over 30, the Instagram algorithm suspects that your post is spam and deletes your entire description. So make sure you copy-paste your description before posting– or perhaps question why you need over 30 hashtags in the first place.

Though 30 is the absolute limit, it’s better to stick to around 9 hashtags. This will please the Instagram algorithm, be more likable to your followers, and in turn allow your posts to be more visible.

In addition, some have noticed that if you reuse the same wall of hashtags in multiple posts, the algorithm de-prioritizes displaying it to your audience…so be sure to alternate your group of hashtags on a regular basis.

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Primary Function: Trend tracking and relevant posts
Followable: ?

On Twitter, trending hashtags and keywords are king; they have lots of power. If a hashtag is trending, it will be displayed on either the ‘Trending” or ‘Trends for You” sidebar to everyone logged onto Twitter at that time.

Similar to Instagram, Twitter’s algorithm also seems to punish posts with a wall of hashtags by de-prioritizing their display. So be selective with your hashtags and use sparingly for best results.


Primary Function: Grouping posts
Followable: ?

You can add hashtags to the description of your pins that will fetch related posts; however, the results are less exact and more ‘conceptual’. For example, if you click the hashtag #WorkoutWednesday, you’ll get a bunch of (hopefully) relevant fitness posts rather than pins with that exact hashtag.

If you end up choosing to include hashtags, Pinterest recommends that you keep the hashtag count below 20.

A standard keyword search will fetch you the most popular pins for that topic. However, by adding a # symbol before any keyword you put in the search bar, Pinterest pulls the most recent pins on that topic and shows you their timestamps.

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Primary function: Search functionality and grouping posts

LinkedIn’s hashtags are limited to what you type in the body of your post. This means if you want to use hashtags you have to make sure your caption specifically states them as words in the body text.


Primary function: Search functionality and grouping posts

Tumblr provides a ‘tags’ section for each post you make, so if you include a hashtag in the designated text area, it will not show up in search results.

In addition, Tumblr only categorizes the first 5 hashtags that you use. Any additional hashtags are often used as a way to add comments to a post, even though the ability to add comments is also available. This is because users are notified of text responses to their posts, but not to any comments made in the hashtag section. This is a prime example of a site’s userbase adapting to the functionality of its hashtag culture.


Primary function: None
Followable: ?

Hashtags have zero functionality on Snapchat. They’re typically used for show only.

And there you have it! We hope this article helps you understand how to use hashtags on social media, and get better results from each platform.

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