The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

You see them everywhere around the web… From Twitter to Instagram, hashtags are an essential part of social media.

So, why should you care about hashtags? Well, hashtags are a great way to increase your overall social media traffic. For example, tweets with hashtags generate two times more engagement than tweets without them.

In order to help you get the most out of hashtags, I’ve created an infographic that will teach you how to leverage them on each popular social network.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.


I know I’ve been a bit lazy when it comes to using hashtags, but I have to say, it works. When I was active on Instagram, I saw that pictures with hashtags received at least 15% more likes compared to images without them.

So, next time you post on your favorite social network, follow the hashtag cheat sheet above.

Are you going to start using hashtags?

P.S. If you need help with coming up and optimizing your hashtags go here.

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  1. I’m so glad you covered this, Neil. Hashtags have always been a subject of interest to me, but sort of a hazy unknown area.

    Do you personally find hashtags to work for you and your websites in increasing engagement and reach?

  2. Nice overview and I have noticed – especially on Twitter – more retweets when using hashtags. I most often limit the # of hashtags to two and should keep doing that. 🙂

    It’s a great way to enhance the chances that content you love (both from yourself and others) goes viral.

    Maybe the next time you could write about tweets and using mentions in your tweet. What’s the effect of mentions on engagement?

    • Paul,
      It’s a great way to find what you are looking for and to help others do the same. I’ll definitely take into consideration your suggestion on tweet mentions.

  3. Neil,

    Forgive me to use this word ‘ I swear’ you’re right

    90% of my website’s traffic is only but hashtag, once I spit it out there on twitter and google + all the traffic comes from the # I use.
    Its key to driving traffic to your blog, product or website.

    Thanks Neil you’re creative

  4. Hi Neil,
    This post did coverd alot about hashtag. I know a site called which shows latest hashtag trends and it work so well.

    Thanks for the sharing 🙂

  5. So where is the guide? All I see is public data for hashtag usage on social networks.

    There is a very common theme with all your posts, not just on your sites, but every site you publish on. You are a great title writer and a horrible at writing content and development quality content.

    The only thing this article/infographic states is to use hashtags. Is that your strategy to just use hashtags?

    • Ryan, If you look above you’ll see that are actionable tips and data backing up what has worked and what hasn’t. Infographics tend to work that way.

      Do you have any data you can share? Would love to see it.

      • The only actionable tip that you mention is to use no more than two hashtags. Everything else is data specific statements with no actionable tips following the data. You are right infographics work in a way to present data and info in a visual way. But your title states this is the Ultimate Guide to Hashtags. Again, I ask where is the ultimate guide?

      • #whereisyourguide #ggnore

        • I have to agree with Ryan on this one. Yes a breezy read but actual meat to chew on not so much. I even clicked on the link (usually I don’t go down that rabbit hole) because the post was so brief. It was an almost verbatim post. Seems you could have put The title “Use Hashtags” and linked to the QuickSprout post.

          Sorry, just a little disappointed that the promise of an “ultimate Guide” was not delivered in this case.

          • I’m sorry you didn’t find this helpful Bill, I used infographics because I felt it would easier for the reader to understand.

  6. This was a breezy read, only to validate what is mostly obvious. I was expecting a list of hashtags that work for each platform and/or how or where to find effective hashtags. Can you do a post on these points?

    Thank You

  7. I never paid attention to hashtags. Even I was not really aware of its benefits. This guide has covered very important and to the point stuffs.

    Thanks neil for another useful guide.

  8. As always, perfect timing. Thanks for this, Neil.


  9. Thanks Neil for the hashtag post. I use them extensively and when I try to explain them I say they are like “conversations” use them to join a conversation or start a new one.

    I also use them to play the hashtag game -which solicit entries for a parody of an existing category (such as #ChangeALetterRuinATVShow , #RejectedStarWarsMovieTitles, #JunkFoodSchmovies, etc).

    Very fun and addicting!

  10. Insanely helpful Infograph Neil.

    We’ve just started our online business and I am sure these insights are going to be a huge help.

    Thanks a ton for having the pain to research all this and sharing with us in easy to understand way.

  11. Looks like you sorted the infographics not showing on iPhones…. Thanks Neil! 🙂

  12. With each day, social networking sites are gaining prominence. Its extremely important to know best ways to get attention which in turn will get you that much needed traffic.

    Thanks for sharing these interesting stats with us Neil.

  13. Mary Lou Scott :

    Couldn’t have been a more timely post!
    Thanks, as always.

  14. Wow.. This is really cool.

    Love the detailed breakdown various platforms..

    Thanks for sharing this info graphic.

  15. Hey Neil

    Your all the articles are awesome but I have a question that from where you make these type of Infographics?

    -Akshit Wadhwa

  16. #TotallyAwesome

  17. Isabell Ishwarey :

    Hello Neil,
    just what I needed-thanks 🙂 .

    Gonna go hashtag crazy on instagram and use the hashtags that get the most hits and are relevant to my biz, see you on intstgram

  18. Thanks Neil. SUPER useful information and I LOVE the graphic style used in your infographics.

  19. David Christensen :

    How should multiple word phrases be shagged? For example ‘travel insurance’ – should it be #TravelInsurance or #Travel #Insurance or some other configuration?

  20. I like the article, but sometimes I ignore Hashtags 🙁

  21. Neil, thank you for such a very good infographic about #hashtags. You explained the keeping hashtags on social media sites very simple.

    Thanks a lot….Neil..

  22. I never really paid much attention to hashtags before using Instagram, but now they are something I use to search with everyday. Thank you so much for the infographics and the stats (luurve stats )

  23. Really useful as always Neil. Here’s a question…

    Do you purposely seek out hashtags that are trending (and create something relevant) or do you simply add what you think appropriate to your post?

  24. Wow, this is brilliant! I would have never thought to study the amount of hash tags and how much engagement each post got. I’m going to use this new information to my advantage on Instagram. Thanks Neil! #yourock

  25. Neil, I’ll be honest. I don’t really like hashtags and I have been ignoring them quite well. Your article is helping me see how silly I am being. I think its time to do a bit of experimentation of my own.

  26. This is the first ever newsletter link that I ever opened and I am glad I did. Now promising to be a regular, I started using hashtags as soon as I decided to be active on Twitter and also sensed its power really soon. You immediately get relevant followers and favorites, if not retweets… But yes, regarding other platforms and specifically explaining the impact of number of hashtags that one should use will come really handy to me!!

    Thanks a loT!

  27. Great stuff as always Neil. Lately, I’ve been averaging 3-4 hashtags per tweet. I’ve definitely noticed significantly more engagement compared to adding zero hashtags, but I look forward to getting even more retweets, favorites, etc. by limiting them to 2.

    I have a question for you: how do you find the right balance between broad and more niche hashtags? For example, #OnlineMarketing would have a much higher reach than #SEOforAttorneys, but the later, assuming my content explained how lawyers can maximize traffic using SEO best practices, is much more targeted, though relatively few users are searching this topic.

    Is there an app or tool you use to find the most effective hashtags? I guess I’m trying to equate this to using the AdWords Keyword Planner to identify key phrases with relatively high search volume and relatively low competition, if that makes any sense.

    Finally, I’d like to thank you for your awesome presentation at last week’s Traffic & Conversion Summit. Adding long tail key phrases to content that’s ranking well for the respective head terms is so simple, yet absolutely genius! I was trying to figure out who the bald dude was that walked out on stage, and was pleasantly surprised when your name was announced 🙂

    • David, the best strategy is to use no more than 2 hashtags in your tweets (as in the infographic above), and to include a mix of high-volume popular hashtags and low-volume long-tail hashtags. Perhaps even 1 of each in a single tweet.

      The high-volume hashtag streams have a lot of eyeballs on them, but your tweet will disappear down the stream in the blink of an eye. The long-tail less popular hashtags have fewer eyeballs, but your tweet will be visible high in the stream for a longer period of time, plus the niche audience is more likely to enjoy your tweet because it is very relevant.

      If you want to figure out which keyword-related hashtags are popular vs. long-tail, you can try my tool Topicurious. Search for your keywords and see all the relevant hashtags listed by popularity.

      Another factor in choosing the best hashtags is to use ones that contain the best “quality” tweets. High quality content, conversation, and low spam. Those hashtags are the ones that are more likely to be searched and followed by your target audience.

  28. I don’t know why but i cant see the comment i posted here 2-3 days ago. So once again Neil – you’re showing here how many interactions posts with hashtags get but it still doesn’t explain if they’re useful on FB or not. Do you have some comparison with posts without hashtags so that we can see hashtags efficiency?


    • Piotr, it may have gone to spam — my filter is pretty strict.

      If you look through the post you can see some comparative data presented.

  29. Neil,

    May I ask who handles your infographic, it is always simply awesome and I notice it is very consistent meaning you are using the same guy. Awesome!

  30. Hi Neil,

    I really like your infographics! They are so minimal and neatly designed. By which I mean, all the important text is present and it doesn’t look cluttered. I am going to share this one too on my site. Thanks!

  31. Dharam Chaudhari :

    Thank you Neil for sharing perfect guide for Hashtags. I agree with you when it comes to increse engagement ratio With using hashtags vs not using it. It does make positive diffrence with your branding stratagies. So again thanks for sharing it again Neil.

  32. Brianna Crowley :

    Neil, I’m in the process of creating a series of Twitter tutorial videos for teachers. Using Camtasia, I’m doing some screen-capture along with voiceover. If I link to this post in my video description and also provide clear attribution in my video, may I use parts of this infographic for visual aid?

    Thanks so much for your time!

  33. Yasin Rishad :

    Hi Neil,

    Great information on hashtag. You clearly brief us important of hashtagging with infographics. Hashtag is an valuable part in social sites for drive traffic and making popularity. Thanks for your information regarding how a hashtag can increase percentage of visitor.

    Kind Regards
    Yasin Rishad

  34. Good Samaritan :

    There’s another interesting stat: 59% of buseness users use third-party applications for account management, 34% are concerned about their follower/following ratio, 19% use bot-like features to get rid of followings. Considering this, you might wanna use to lower the number of people you follow, you can reduce it by up to 5000 per day. So even if you gained a few thousand followings building up your follower base – don’t worry, the service will do that for you.

  35. Great post as always, Neil! We’re going through all your posts and applying your wisdom to our social media and blogging practices.

    We’ve been experimenting with the number of hashtags and not noticing too much of a change in engagement (especially with Facebook). Does the Two-Hashtags golden rule work better when you have a larger following? We’re under 500 on Facebook and at 800 on Twitter.


    • Ensil, the beauty of hashtags is they work under any circumstance — it’s a way for people to search for you.

  36. Really good post!

  37. Akash Gurnani :

    Hi Niel, Awesome Article you have written. I Found Your blog few days ago. I liked it so much that i daily try to read 2 to 3 posts from your blog. You have tremendous knowledge about seo and marketing. Wanna learn from you. You are sharing your knowledge that is the best thing a man can do. Keep Inspiring.

    • You’ll find a ton of content in the archives Akash. You should also take a look at the guides that are located on the sidebar.

  38. Hi Neil, You are providing really awesome information on social media.

    I have a question. I have a website on auto insurance and I need to get good traffic. I have tried many things but not able to get good traffic. Can you help me out on this. Waiting for your reply. I am definitely sure that things from you with surely help me.

    Thank you.

    • It comes down to links and content. Are you creating quality content that is worth of people linking to it?

  39. Hai neil!… Its a great info. Thank you. But, what actually i need is how to find out the hash tags? Do i have to use any online tools to the find the hashtags? Please let me know. Thank you. Awaiting!…

    • Hey Asha, searching hashtags on Twitter is one of the easiest things to do. You can also use free tools like this:

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