Love or hate social media, hashtags are important; they increase your content’s discoverability.
From a social media trainee: “I hate hashtags. Do I have to use them?”
No, you don’t have to use them, if you’re creating content for your followers; they’ll see your content anyway. However, using hashtags can extend your reach.
Searching via hashtags helps you to discover content too, in addition to finding prospective clients, if you’re a freelance writer.
Useful as hashtags are, they’re open to exploitation, so if you use hashtags, keep an eye on your favorite network’s rules for their use.
A social media network’s hashtag rules: check occasionally
I’ve checked, so here’s content creation’s current best practice on the “how many hashtags?” question, mostly directly from the source. Be aware that there’s some confusion about hashtags on Pinterest.
Twitter: use as many as you like, but Twitter recommends two per post.
Facebook: choose one or several, but keep it simple.
Pinterest: couldn’t find anything on hashtags in Pinterest’s Help files. Use your own discretion.
Instagram: hashtag heaven. Up to 30 per post.
Quick tips: 4 easy tips for social media and hashtags
1. Use “trending” hashtags if available, and if relevant
If a network has a Trending feature for hashtags, as Twitter does with its “What’s happening” (click Explore/ Trending) search, it’s worth a look.
You can find content ideas, and join the conversation. (Trending is confined to your county. You’ll need to search Twitter to find Trending hashtags elsewhere.)
2. LinkedIn: use hashtags naturally
When you’re using LinkedIn, use hashtags within your post, as part of a sentence; use a maximum of three.
3. Find hashtags for a site (especially IG) without fuss
Keyword Tool has a fast and simple Instagram hashtag generator I like.
4. Generate a custom hashtag for a marketing campaign or event
Running a marketing campaign, or want to tag an event? You can generate your own hashtag.
There are many hashtag event generators you can use, but consider this strategy (so you can track them more easily):
- Use up to three initials for the product or event, then
- (Optional) add three initials for location, plus
- The date.
So, a hashtag for your upcoming campaign, Farmers’ Market Eat Local, would be: FMLSA0505. In this case the “SA” would mean South Australia, and the date: May 5. (Run your new hashtag through Google to ensure that no one else uses it.)
A final social media tip for hashtags
Track your hashtags, to find the best for you and what you need.
On the other hand, if you’re a free spirit and focusing on hashtags seems a pain, give them a miss—but ensure that you use a relevant keyword—it helps.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.