• Barbara Summers

Back to Basics: Effectively Using Hashtags


We all want to be at the top of Social Media game and when hashtags made their way into the world, people went for it. When used effectively, hashtags can be a very useful tool on nearly every dominating social media platform today. It has also been noted that hashtags can be very ineffective (and at times, downright annoying) when over used or used incorrectly. Today, we’re talking about some simple yet effective ways to use hashtags to bring your content to its full potential.

First and foremost: keep it simple. You’ve surely heard the words, “less is more” and hashtags are no exception to that statement. Over characterizing hashtags or creating super unique long hashtags means nobody will find you. Over using them also means people will rarely stop to look once they have found you. There is no need for 10 hashtags or a hashtag with fifty words that clearly resem

bles a bad run on sentence! (Cue the English teachers of the world). Talking about a new breakfast debut at your restaurant? No need for #thebestpancakesever or #newpancakesarethebest. Instead, focus and keep it simple. Try #breakfast or #pancakes, or even a second hashtag that incorporates your location like #Spokane. Catering to the specifics and keeping it simple is the most effective way to be seen and drive traffic (your target audience, more specifically) to want to engage with likes, loves, or simple comments like, “that looks delicious!”.

Second up, we’re touching base on how different social media platforms use hashtags in different ways. For example, Twitter typically embraces hashtags based on the actual topic of conversation. People who are interested in events or specific people for example, will follow the relevant topic hashtags such as, #WednesdayWisdom or #PresidentElect or #Grammys. Whereas other platforms such as Instagram that emphasize using photographs or video tend to use descriptive hashtags such as, “#delicious”, “#nature” or “#Inspiration”. It can be useful to take a second and do some quick due diligence on the topic or event your posting about. Take a look at what relevant hashtags people are already using, especially if it’s a hot or trending topic. This can help ensure that you’re taking the right approach to gain followers, attract traffic and drive engagement – essentially, be noticed by your target audience.

Last but certainly not least, we’re here to say… you really don’t have to use a hashtag every single time you post. Sometimes, there is not always a relevant hashtag or even a need to reach out to an audience that isn’t already consisting of your own followers. Believe it or not, effectively using hashtags can mean not using them at all. Speaking to your current audience is sometimes all you need to do with the content your sharing. This can easily be remedied if you’re having ‘second thoughts’ too. Take a moment, review what people are already saying on the topic, if anything at all. You don’t always need to be ‘found’, ‘noticed’ or ‘discovered’. The audience you’ve already procured needs to be tended to as well.

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