Have you ever had the displeasure of reading a social media post that is so absurdly packed with hashtags that you can’t even make sense of what you’re reading? Does it make your vision blur trying to read #thelongesthashtagtheinternethaseverseen? Well, I feel your pain and I’m here to help make sure that you will not become the world’s next hashtag obsessed human being.
Step one of not becoming a hashtag hellion is to understand what hashtags are and what their purpose is. Hashtags are used in social media posts to identify keywords or topics of interest. Tagging keywords allows the social network to organize them and make them searchable for users. When a user clicks on a highlighted hashtag, they’re brought to a page that has a collection of all posts mentioning the same hashtagged word, easily bringing together relevant content that the user wants to see.
Now that you understand the purpose behind using hashtags, on to the fun stuff: how to actually use them without looking like a fool! Here are a few basic tips you should follow:
To hashtag, simply add the ‘#’ sign before a single word or phrase without spaces or punctuation. Numbers can be used as well.
Only use hashtags that are relevant to your post topic and intended audience.
Avoid stringing too many words together with one hashtag. As you saw in the first paragraph of this blog, this also looks ridiculous and is very hard for users to read.
Using the tips above, you should be able to avoid any humiliating hashtag fails.
Now, although most social networks utilize hashtags in the same general way, they each have their own nuances that make them unique. Here’s the lowdown for a few of the top social media sites:
Twitter: This is the first and most popular site to use hashtags, and you can easily spot trending hashtags on the left-hand side of your Twitter stream. Clicking a hashtag on Twitter will take you to a page with posts that contain the hashtagged term.
Facebook: You can check out trending hashtags in the top right-hand corner of your News Feed. If you click on a hashtag on Facebook, you will be brought to a page with posts that contain the hashtagged term.
Instagram: Clicking on a hashtag on Instagram allows you to see groups of similar photos. Hashtagging your own photos creates a link to a page with other pictures of the same subject.
Google+: Google+ is cool in that it automatically adds relevant hashtags to your posts, while still allowing you to add your own. You can also edit or delete the ones that Google chose.
Pinterest: Although hashtags are clickable in Pin descriptions, they’re not searchable on Pinterest. To search a hashtagged term, just type the term into the search box.
All in all, hashtags are great. They make searching relevant content on social media easier for consumers, and reaching the right audience easier for businesses. With the above knowledge in hand you’ll be on your way to hashtag harmony in no time! #HappyHashtagging!