How Are You Using Hashtags on Your Social Media?

You’re using hashtags on your social media right?

(You know, what we once used to call the pound sign and looks like this #?)

Yeah, that one!

But, are you really using them or just tossing them around your social media for effect like you used to do with commas to keep your high school English teacher happy?

I thought so.

Let’s talk about this!

First, a quick recap on hashtags.

The dreaded # (hashtag) strikes fear into the hearts of many who see it on both social media and public media. (It’s even on billboards on the highway.)

Then there are the hard questions about them.

How to use hashtags?

When to use hashtags?

Why to use hashtags?

Hashtags seem to be everywhere but what are they?

Actually, once you sit down and study them, they’re really not all that difficult to understand.

(They’re a lot easier to understand than the US Federal tax code. Trust me, I ought to know. I used to prepare taxes for a living before I came to my senses.)

Let’s start with Wikipedia’s definition of a hashtag:

A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other microblogging services, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging which makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the number sign or pound sign # usually in front of a word or unspaced phrase in a message. The hashtag may contain letters, digits, and underscores.[1] Searching for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it. A hashtag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hashtag.[2]

Simple, right?

That’s all that’s to it, a simple identifier/tag used to collect or find information on social media.

Now, let’s tackle those supposedly hard questions about hashtags.

How to use them?

Simply put a # in front of the text you wish to include with no spaces.

I’ve heard of a limit on the number of characters that can be used with a hashtag but I’d recommend not getting carried away here.

When to use them?

Whenever you want your content to be found relating to a particular subject or topic on social media.

Why to use them?

Because you want to be easily found and be part of whatever particular discussion it is that you’re trying to participate in.

A few words of advice when working with hashtags:

  1. Don’t stuff hashtags. Don’t use too many or post content exclusively with hashtags
  2. Don’t abuse trending topics on social media channels. An example is best here, if you’re tweeting about a niche hobby don’t try to boost your hits by using a hashtag like #BREXIT. (Unless of course your hobby is modern European economic theory in which case I recommend that you get a new hobby.)
  3. Stay relevant. A slight variation on the last one but still important. Make sure all your hashtags are specific to your topic and not too general.

Hashtags are an important part of social media.

If you want your content to discovered, commented on, and shared, you’ll need to learn how to use them.

Don’t be afraid, experiment!

That’s it for now!

Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.

Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

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