They’ve been popping up for quite some time – on Twitter, Instagram, and have now recently joined Facebook. The beloved hashtag. But this symbol isn’t just a typo slapped onto the beginning of a word or phrase – it’s powerful, even more powerful than you might think.
The hashtag, or “#” is a common tool used to organize topics and discussions. Social media such as Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram all use hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to organize topics or posts. Think of a hashtag as a cyber file folder to store all common posts. Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with a group with a common interest. Hashtags can connect businesses and individuals within an industry, so making careful and intentional choices about which hashtags to use and how to use them is crucial. On some social media sites, users can choose to subscribe to certain hashtags and receive posts with that particular hashtag. This means that hashtag use can potentially allow you to gain followers – but you can also lose connections by using hashtags incorrectly. Read on to master proper use of hashtags and learn to avoid the missteps of improper use.
Proper Hashtag Use
As fun as it is to come up with your own unique hashtags, remember that over hashtagging can become annoying to readers and distract from your intended message. Only hashtag tags that are directly relevant to your post or your industry. As a general rule, use a maximum of four hashtags per post.
Make sure your hashtag isn’t too long. If it is, chances are the hashtag is not a popular one, meaning you run the risk of no one seeing that post unless they’re already one of your followers. Hashtags should be general, in common terms, and relatively short while still being relevant to your post.
Improper Hashtag Use
1. Do not write sentences using hashtags.
Avoid writing an entire sentence using a hashtag. This makes it difficult to read and your post will have a difficult time falling into a category or topic for discussion. Bad example: Avoid #writinganentiresentencelikethisoneusinghashtag!
2. Do not use irrelevant hashtags.
Though it may be tempting to use a hashtag simply because it’s popular, don’t force the connection. Never add a popular tag that doesn’t support or describe your post. Using trending hashtags just to get followers can confuse users and distract them from the true focus of your post.
3. Do not get hashtag-happy.
Hashtags are really fun, but avoid over hashtagging your post. Remember the rule of four – don’t go beyond four hashtags per post. Bad example: Today is the last day of the semester. I can’t wait for summer to begin! #summer #friends #semester #college #hangout #roadtrip #summerplans Not only do hashtags organize the million of posts per day happening all around the world, but they also connect us to each other. Hashtags are a powerful tool when used properly. They create networks, initiates conversation and allow you to connect to others with similar interest. If used correctly, hashtags can help your online community soar to new heights.