How to master hashtags on social media

If you want to market your business in the 21st century, you need to use social media successfully. And if you want to use social media successfully, you need to make good use of hashtags.

"Hashtags serve as a way for people and brands to contribute to social media discussions on specific topics, or create conversations around specific events," explains Small Business Trends contributor David William.

To use hashtags to their full effect, avoid using too many of them, and err on the side of short and sweet.

"On Twitter, the best number of hashtags to use is one. Tweets with more than one hashtag see a decline in engagement, correlated to the number of hashtags used," reports William, citing the results of a new study conducted by TrackMaven, an integrated marketing analytics software firm. "Twitter hashtags with 18 characters perform best, while tweets with longer hashtags see a sharp decline in engagement."

On Instagram, the rules are a little different.

"On Instagram, posts with nine hashtags perform best," William says. "Instagram hashtags with 21 characters perform best, but engagement decreases sharply for posts with hashtags that are 25 characters long."

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