Tagging on Social Media: Everything You Need to Know (About Social Media Tagging in 2024)

By: | July 12, 2020 | Tags: , , , , , , |
tagging on social media 
social media tagging

Did you realize tagging on social media was complex?

Why is social media tagging helpful for us?

Tagging on social media is a powerful practice.

Social media tagging has many benefits for you.

When you tag, you get the attention of influencers who

  • Might link to you and improve your SEO
  • Might let you guest post and increase your subscribers
  • Might reshare your posts and extend your reach which boosts your traffic, subscribers, and sales
  • Make you look good and boost your credibility

According to the UK Domain blog, in 2019, tagging on social media resulted in a 56% boost in engagement. Those figures should be even higher now.

This post will explain how tags work on 5 social media sites: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, and LinkedIn. Get ready to discover how tagged media can help you grow your blog and social media accounts.

UPDATE: June 2022

By watching this video, you’ll receive more information about tagging on social media. You’ll also discover the difference between social media tagging and using hashtags on social media.

Information on tagging on social media can be found in this video if you prefer to watch instead of reading the information.

What is Tagging on Social Media?

tagging on social media
Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

UPDATE: July 2022

A question was asked on Reddit related to social media tags on Twitter:

“If I mention someone in a tweet, do they get notified when someone replies to said tweet?”

Five respondents answered, “Yes.”

One of them best summed up the reasoning by explaining, “Yes, unless they’ve changed the notification settings to avoid it.”

Updated Information: When you refer to tagging on social media, we don’t mean a tag that’s on clothing in a store. Tagging on social media is more like the game tag since during the game you get someone’s attention. Social media tagging lets you get someone’s attention on social media.

Social media tagging allows social media users to engage an individual, business, or any person or company with a social media account when they mention them in a post or comment. Social media tagging notifies the recipient and links to the tagged profile.

Difference between tag and hashtag

There is a difference between a tag and a hashtag.

What does the @ symbol mean in social media?

When you tag someone on a social media site, you use the @ symbol. The person will be notified you tagged them and be able to read the information you posted on the social media site.

When you use a hashtag, you use the # sign. This allows people looking for information on your topic to find it. All they have to do is type the hashtag symbol (#) and the keyword they want information on.

Using hashtags on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is important if you want people to find your content.

Note: It’s been reported that hashtags actually turn people off on Facebook.

Social Media Hashtags

There are many free tools that will provide social media hashtags. For instance, All-Hashtag.com will show you both Top and Random hashtags for your keyword. Just plug it into the Search bar.

The Preview App offers you hashtags.

Here you will find social media hashtags generators.

Tagging on Social Media: Etiquette

Did you know there is actually a protocol for tagging on social media? There is. If you don’t follow these rules, you will anger people who you want to impress.

How tags work:

Tagging on social media has two results: The person you tagged is notified about what you wrote on social media. Also, the tag creates a hyperlink to the person’s account.

You need a reason for tagging.

I can not stress this enough.

If you just randomly tag, you will annoy the person you tagged. Tagging notifies the person. They’ll wonder why they needed to take their time to read your social media promotion.

I, myself, have been tagged often but to my confusion, I had no idea why. I often read and reread the social media content assuming I was mentioned there somewhere.

If you just randomly tag without reason, you will look like you just want a share from the person you tagged. Instead of being beneficial to you, you will look spammy.

Tag within your niche

Don’t go overboard tagging on social media. Stay within your niche.

For instance, Moss Clement is in my niche. Therefore, when he and I tagged each other, on Instagram, people in our niche saw our accounts. If I tagged someone in a different niche, there’s be less chance they’d follow me back and my account would grow if they’re not interested in my content niche.

Tagging on Social Media: Instagram

Instagram Stories

tagging on social media

The screenshot shows two of my Stories. In both, I tagged organizations in the school where I teach.

This way they’d be notified the school yearbook was available and that I wished them well upon graduation.

You might wonder how I knew the tags. After all, you haven’t memorized the Instagram handles of everyone you might want to tag.

How to tag in an Instagram Story:

Make your Story like you usually would.

To tag, click the Sticker icon. Then click @Mention.

When you start typing their name into the search bar, their name, also called a handle, comes up.

Instagram is intuitive which is extremely helpful. For instance, I tend to tag my business partner, Peter Nyiri, when I want him to see how I promote our Blogging Academy.

When I type @PeterNyiri, his Instagram handle, “@FunnelXpert,” appears. I click on it, and he will be tagged and shown my Instagram Story. Even though Peter Nyiri and Funnel Xpert aren’t similar, Instagram knows which tag to offer me to click.

Instagram allows you to tag up to 10 people in a Story.

The advantages of tagging on social media when you use Instagram:

Names aren’t the only tags you can choose from in Instagram Stories. For instance, you can tag your location which is called a Geolocation tag.

There are advantages to tagging. Clearly, when you tag a person, they are notified. If they choose to share the content that you tagged them in, you extend your reach by including the tag, and your account could potentially grow as their followers follow you and possibly share your work.

The same rules apply to the Geo Location Sticker.

Start your Story. Click the Sticker icon. Click the word Location. Your location and your nearby locations populate. Click your location.

When you include this in your Instagram Story, people in that location who follow that tag will be notified and again, your reach could spread.

Instagram Posts: Tag in Instagram Captions

Tagging on social media

This is a caption promoting a new course at the Mostly Blogging Academy. I wanted the instructor, Peter Nyiri, to know I promoted the course, so I tagged him in the caption.

In 2018, you could include 20 tags in an Instagram caption. Now, in 2020, you can tag up to 30 people.

Instagram Contests

Before we leave a discussion of tagging on Instagram, we should examine how tags are used in Instagram contests.

One powerful way to grow on Instagram is through contests. You offer something for free in exchange for people sharing your posts. People who share are entered.

The question becomes, “How will you know if someone shared your post?” It’s vital in the instructions for the contest that you tell people to “tag us on social media.”

The tags enable you to know who entered. Write in your caption where you advertise the contest, “Tag us on social media.”

Will they tag your account? Tell them to use the @ symbol. Will they use a unique hashtag you invented for the contest? Make sure you give them the instruction. That way you can choose from the people who entered by sharing your content in order to give away your freebie.

Tagging on Social Media: Twitter

What is tagging in Twitter?

Tagging on Twitter is called a Twitter Mention.


Do you remember in the Tagging on Social Media Etiquette section, I warned you people get angry if you waste their time tagging them for no reason other than you want them to promote you?

Therefore, when you tag, tell them why you are tagging them.

Let’s look at an example:

Tagging on social media Twitter

Blogger Hugh Roberts won my linky party. When I promoted the party on Twitter, I wanted him to know, so I tagged him.

Again, I used the @ sign. However, look at what I put before it: “feat.” This stands for “featured.” In other words, I am telling Hugh he is featured in the post I’m promoting.

What if you are not including them in the article? What if you believe there is information in the article you believe they will be interested in?

Use this abbreviation “FYI” which, of course, stands for “For Your Information.”

In the past, I’ve also written out in the tweet, “Thought you might be interested.”

You can tag up to 10 people in a Twitter tweet.

Social Media Tagging: Facebook

Amit Garg also won my linky party. Excited, he shared the information on Facebook. When he tagged me, he typed my Facebook name, @janicewald. Can you tell when he tagged me my name turned blue? This tells you it’s a live link to my account.


There seems to be a new social media trend promoting website content in Facebook DMs.

That’s fine if there’s a reason to share your content with the person you are Direct Messaging.

People tag me on their Facebook wall when I’m included in the post they are promoting. I’m thrilled! I thank them on their wall under the post and then I share their content on my Facebook page.

However, people have sent me their posts in my Direct Message section of Facebook inexplicably.

Once, before discovering this was a social media trend, I told the blogger I thought he tagged me because I was in the post, but I wasn’t.

I wasted my time reading the article looking for my name, and things got awkward when I questioned him about it.

Tagging on Facebook has even become automated. People pay good money to have chatbots contact people on Facebook Messenger.

You can tag people on Facebook anywhere: On your wall, on your Facebook Business Page, or in DM’s. You can also have group discussions in Direct Messages where everyone in the conversation will get tagged.

You can also tag people in photos you post. The photos will appear on their wall, and they will get notified. If they don’t want the photos to appear on their feeds, they can remove the tag.

Social Media Tagging: LinkedIn

tagging on social media. LinkedIn

Look what happened when Martin Lindeskog tagged me on LinkedIn:

My name became a live link so my account could grow through the exposure he gave me. Also, my branding grew due to his “hat tip” (compliment) seen by his followers that generated 5 thumb-ups and 11 comments.

Look what happens when I add a tag:

tagging on social media LinkedIn

As soon as I used the @ sign and started typing in Peter Nyiri’s name, he came up, so I could click on him and tag him in this post. He will receive a notification that I promoted our course.

Go to your LinkedIn homepage. Here you can make a post and tag someone.

Tagging on Social Media: Quora

Quora.com is a popular Question and Answer site, and isn’t commonly thought of as a mainstream social media site.

Since you can network at Quora, I am including the site in this article about tagging on social media.


Tagging on Social Media: Quora

A Quora user asked me a question about Twitter. I didn’t know the answer. Wanting to help him, I referred the question to a Twitter expert I know, Lisa Sicard.

Notice how I did it. I used the @ sign. I started typing her name, and the Lisa I wanted to tag came up which enabled me to click on her.

Once I tagged her, Lisa’s name became a live link so the person could click on her account. Because I tagged her, Lisa will get notified about the tag in her Quora notifications.

The difference in tagging on social media sites often comes down to whether you use the space between the person’s first and last name. On Quora, you use the space.

Media Tagging

What is media tagging?

Media tagging has two meanings.

First, according to the Emlyon Business School, media tagging relates to tagging media in order to classify it. Categorizing media is helpful for teachers who might be interested in finding media to share with their students according to the source.

The other definition of media tagging relates to the tagging on social media methods described in this post. When you tag the media, the media gets a notification. For instance, I notified the media I had an expert round-up in case the reporters wanted to cover my interview.

Tagging on Social Media FAQ

What is the difference between tagging and hashtagging?

When you tag on social media, you use the @ sign. When you use a hashtag, you use the pound sign #. You tag to make sure a person sees your post, you use a hashtag to make sure interested people see your content.

Is it better to tag or mention on Instagram?

You mention someone by tagging, so it’s the same.

What does tagging someone mean?

Tagging someone means you use the @ symbol to make sure someone sees your content. Use @ + their social media handle.

Wrapping Up: Tagging on Social Media

By reading this guide, you discovered how to boost your website traffic from five social media sites by tagging on social media.

In closing, I recommend you save this guide to tagging on social media. This way, when you are ready to tag, you can reference the protocol this article shared and these instructions.


This post explained

  • the four benefits of tagging on social media.
  • the difference between a tag and a hashtag.
  • the general etiquette for social media tagging.
  • how to tag people on Instagram Stories, Instagram posts, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, and LinkedIn.
  • how to tag locations on Instagram.

How to tag on Pinterest:

A notable omission in this post was social media tagging on Pinterest. It’s easy to tag on Pinterest using the @ sign. When you add your hashtags, add a @ sign. This will enable you to tag Pinterest users.

Readers, please share so social media users wishing to learn social media tagging read this guide.

I look forward to your views in the comments section. Do you have any suggestions for tagging on social media sites? Do you agree tagging on social media sites is spammy unless you state your reason for tagging?

  1. Bella X

    I use #hushtag on twitter, submitting directory submission, plurk but not sure of tag. I only heard of this in this blog. Thanks for info.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Bella,
      Great to see you. I’m glad my post could introduce you to a new strategy.
      This is a tag: @
      I’m “MrsPaznanski” on Twitter. If you post a tweet and include @MrsPaznanski, I will be notified of your tweet.

  2. Moss Clement

    Hi Janice,

    Social media tagging is a marketing hack that several marketers underestimate. It has great potentials to take your online business to greater heights. Since tagging lets users you tagged to know that you’re engaging them, such a simple task can result in valuable interactions with those you tagged. And such communications will lead to collaboration on projects that will increase your brand exposure and boost your reputation.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Moss,
      Great to see you. I hope you’re having a nice summer.
      You have written a valuable testimonial to the power of tagging. I’m sure that’s how Ryan Biddulph and I got close and maybe even you and me. We tagged each other and still do. It’s a great way to interact on social media, and, as you mentioned, has tremendous potential for your growth– if people do it right.
      Thanks for writing with your opinions. I agree with them.

  3. Hugh W. Roberts

    Hi Janice, thanks so much for including me in this post. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how many hashtags are too many? I hear on Twitter that you should not use any more than three hashtags, otherwise, it looks spammy. Do you have any thoughts on adding hashtags to blog post titles?

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Hugh,
      It was my pleasure to include you in my guide to tagging on social media.
      Regarding hashtags: I heard that as well. On Twitter, we should use no more than 2-3 hashtags or we look spammy.
      Regarding hashtags in blog post titles: I believe you know a blogger named Lucy. Her blog is BlondeWriteMore or something like that. She always put hashtags in your blog post titles. However, other than Lucy, in the five and a half years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never seen anyone else do it. Therefore, I don’t believe using hashtags in headlines is common practice.
      Great to see you. Thanks for reaching out with your questions.

      • Hugh W. Roberts

        I’ve seen a growing number of bloggers starting to use hashtags in blog post titles, Janice. Some use one or two, but some can use as many 10! I was wondering if there are any benefits of using hashtags in blog posts titles? Do SEOs like them, and would having more than three hashtags in a title be classed as spammy (like it does on Twitter?)

  4. Amit Garg

    Hey Janice

    Tagging on social media plays a very crucial role in online business success.

    Indeed for a beginner, it is one of the best ways to show his/her presence to the industry experts.

    Like you mentioned above, Tagging on social media surely helps in extending your post reach, more shares, improved SEO, and lots of other opportunities.

    Thanks for sharing
    Amit Garg

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Amit,
      Thanks for writing with this strong testimonial about the effectiveness of tagging.
      Great to see you.

  5. Lisa Sicard

    Hi Janice, I’m so glad you mentioned how annoying it can be to be tagged for no reason. Especially in those Facebook DM’s! Thank you for that.
    Also thanks for the mention on Quora 🙂 I came by to check out what you had to say about tagging as it is a pet peeve of mine to be tagged for no reason other than for someone to drag you over to their new blog 🙂
    Have a wonderful day Janice.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Lisa,
      Great to see you! It was my pleasure to mention you at Quora! I’m glad you feel my point about how rude it is for people to tag us for no apparent reason. It just wastes our time and annoys us. I hope my post lets people know who might be tempted to do it.
      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Geoff Dodd

    Hi Janice,
    Yes, I think that people ought to give a solid, honest reason for tagging someone. Otherwise, it’s a spammy ‘hanging on the coattails’ of a celebrity or an influencer, for personal benefit. Dragging an influencer over to read your material will surely get you ‘blacklisted’ with authorities. We need to earn our brownie points and acknowledgements, not just pinch or borrow them! Thanks, GD.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Geoff,
      Thank you for reading what I wrote. I did not know tagging without reason could get people in trouble with authorities. I’m glad you agree with my feeling that it’s spammy at best.
      Thanks for commenting.

  7. Mohamed

    It’s important to know what you tag, whom you tag and why you tag. Considering the fact, most people with whom I generally engage in a conversation, still don’t know the difference between hashtags and ‘@’ tags. I too like you have been tagged only to find irrelevant info on the page. This is an article I am sharing with others so they know what mistakes they’re making. The info was a much needed one.

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you very much for your comments and your support of my opinion. I also appreciate you sharing my post.

  8. Mikkel

    I always think it’s great etiquette to both mention someone in a caption and a tag who deserves the credit. It takes minimal time and it’s something that could impact their business in a (hopefully) positive way!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Mikkel,
      I agree with you. I try to tell people I’ve included them in a tag. It’s harder if they don’t have an account. For instance, often people don’t have Instagram accounts, so I can’t tag them there although I would like to.
      Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  9. Sharon Breay

    Janice–Thanks for this very informative article on tags and hashtags. I left SM for about 5 years, and am now coming back with a Business Page. I didn’t know before what tags were about, but as a business person, I need to! I’ve really enjoyed reading this article!

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