I’ve recently seen some really bad examples of hashtag use so I thought I might give it a go and write about it. Maybe it will help you use hashtags in the future.

Hashtags that fail

I saw a post on Facebook that went something like this “I’m #sohappy for my #amazing #clients we #found you the #perfect #fixerupper (insert more hashtags here).” It was so hard to read and I really didn’t want to. None of the hashtags were really something that would spark more of a conversation if I looked it up. I believe #fixerupper was the most on brand and something to spark a conversation. Why would I want to look up #perfect or #amazing? What would I find there? It’s not very niche so it would be all over the map I’m guessing. Not worth my time to look at it and has nothing to do with the brand that posted it.

What to do instead…

Rule #1: Don’t overuse hashtags in a sentence/post. This is called spamming. If you want to use more than one hashtag try using them at the end of your sentence so that people can read your sentence and not be really distracted by all the hashtags (formerly called the pound sign). The general rule is to use less than five per post. Three if you can do it. If you’re on your A game, one is awesome. One means you’re super targeted and people love that. Just think, less is more.

For the above example maybe they could have said “I’m so happy for my amazing clients finding their first home! #realtor #fixerupper #dreamhome” (all these are frequently used tags on social media…I checked) instead of saying “I’m so #happy for my #amazing #clients #finding their #dream #home!”

Rule #2: Use hashtags that are specific to your niche, your brand, your profession or that thing you want to be known for. Don’t use random hashtags just for the sake of using hashtags. That’s not what they are meant to do. Hashtags are meant to keep you looking at a conversation. To expand on a conversation. You are adding to the conversation with the appropriate hashtag (ex #LikeAGirl). In the intro example you are not really adding more to a conversation. Think of hashtags as a keyword that you would look up in google? Do you want to look up the word “perfect” in google? Do you think you’ll find anything useful or anything that pertains to what I just said about “perfect”?

Rule #3: There are different uses of hashtags on different platforms.

Instagram: Hashtags are mostly used for features. They make your posts seen so they can be chosen by a hub to feature on their page. That hub has picked a certain branded hashtag that they are asking you to use (ex. #hubs_united or #artofvisuals). On Instagram you can also add hashtags for your location (ex. #morocco or #pdx). When you start to type in a hashtag it will give you some auto suggestions. Pick a hashtag that a lot of other people use and yours will also be seen in that group, it means it’s a popular tag. Try not to pick a hashtag that has too many uses or you’ll never be seen. A good rule of thumb is the smaller your account, the smaller the tags you should be using.

You can use up to 30 tags on Instagram. There used to be a trick to use 60 but I never did it.

Facebook: Here, if you use hashtags and people click on it they can see your posts and all public posts that use that hashtag. If your posts are not public no one but your friends can see that post in the hashtag feed. You cannot be found by a hashtag on Facebook unless you make it public or only want to be found by your friends. Hashtags are best used on your business page or not at all.

Twitter: For me twitter is the best place for hashtags. You can be found and find all sorts of things that are in your niche by searching for tags related to your industry. Twitter also has an auto suggest feature with its hashtags so that you can get in on the popular conversations. For me, I like to use #marketing #design #entreprener #photographer but not usually on the same post. I usually have up to three on a post and they are usually pretty synced to one topic like #travel #traveltuesday #traveltips.

For me I sometimes use hashtags to be really funny and you can do that but don’t do it all the time. That’s just annoying. #SometimesFunnyWorks or 

Pinterest: They say you can use up to 20 hashtags per pin but again you want to make them relevant to your post. What would people be searching for that would find your post relevant? Use those pins. You can search to see what pins are most used or not used at all.

Hashtags in summation

In general I think picking a brand specific tag for you to use could also be good. For me it could be #rouxroamer. It could also be a tag that goes with my niche. Remember, that you want to be found so what’s the best way for people to find your work? It is a branded tag, tags about your business, tags that your ideal client would look at or feature tags?

How to use hashtags on social media