The Do’s and Don’ts of Hashtags
Hashtags to me have always been a bit ‘meh’, I use them occasionally on Facebook but mostly on Twitter and Instagram.
One thing I’ve never really quite understood about hashtags is why people go on to use really random ones that no one will ever search for. To me that’s just annoying.
I was contacted by a reader to see if I could write about the use of hashtags which is great because they are beneficial but only when they’re used correctly (otherwise they’ll just annoy the crap out of your audience).
So here’s a bit of a summary on what and what not to do with hashtags.
- Use a maximum of 3 hashtags
- Make sure they are relevant to your post and your audience
- Make sure they are specific e.g. if you are a wedding photographer in Sydney, don’t use #sydney that’s way too general, use #sydneywedding or #sydneyweddingphotographer
- Use hashtags on twitter and instagram
- Use hashtags on Facebook but only if your potential audience knows how to use them and if it’s relevant to your status update
- Use hashtags if you are involved in a specific conversation or challenge
- Search trending hashtags on your topic and use that hashtag. You can do this at Hashtagify.me
- Set up a hashtag for an event so attendees can follow and include in their tweets
- Register your hashtag to protect your brand. For example, I have registered #MummyMondays which is a linkup I have every Monday at The Multitasking Mummy. You can register a hashtag here
- Overkill a post with hashtags! Use no more than 3.
- Use hashtags mid sentence, use them at the end of the paragraph otherwise you’ll annoy your readers.
- Use general hashtags, you won’t be found in search. Be specific.
- Use irrelevant hashtags. Check the hashtag first and see what content comes up. Make sure they’re relevant to what you’re talking about!
What you need to know about hashtags and each social media platform
Each social media platform uses hashtags in a similar way whereby if you click on the hashtag, you can view all the other tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts and Instagrams with the same hashtag and on a similar topic. But there are a few exceptions:
- Depending on a Facebook users privacy settings, you may not necessarily be able to see the post when you search via hashtag.
- Google+ will actually add hashtags to your content if they think it’s a popular keyword, it pulls the keyword based on the information in your post. You can disable this function.
- You can use hashtags in Pinterest but they’re only clickable via the pin description.
- Hashtags in Pinterest are NOT searchable, only keywords are. Make sure you use keywords in your pin description.
Lastly, check out keyhole.co, a cool tool where you can track your hashtag. This is great for providing stats to a PR company for a sponsored post campaign, for your own blog or business.
Here’s a screen shot showing the tracking of my #MummyMondays hashtag over the past few days using Keyhole.co
How do you feel about hashtags? Do you use them?
Image by David Castillo Dominici on freedigitalphotos.net