Hashtags are at the forefront of social media. Not only do hashtags categorize the content that you sent out into the digital universe, but they also enable your content to be found and interacted with by other social media users. They represent a shared dialogue.

If you are not using hashtags, well, you should be. If you are using them but are unclear on how they work hopefully this will clear a few things up.

 

Here are 5 Reasons Y you may be using Hashtags incorrectly:

1. You Are Being Too Broad

Being to broad when using hashtags will not filter your content to those who you are actually looking to connect with. For instance, if you were watching the Aurora Borealis, #NorthernLights will get more likes than just #Lights.

Similarly, you may want to be careful of being too specific.  Some hashtags are so obscure that it is unlikely that someone else would search it, which is just as detrimental to your hashtag game.

2. You’re Only Hashtagging Your Brand, Literally

When posting about a brand, try not to hashtag your company name. The users seeing your post already know. Starbucks doesn’t hashtag #Starbucks. No need to continue on that one, we have a feeling you get it.

What you can do to further your brand is to think about the brand as a whole. Promotions, values, etc. A branded hashtag should be something that represents the brand without specifically naming it.

3. You’re Getting Wordy

#HashtagsThatAreTooLongAreAnnoying. #HashtagsThatAreTooLongAreObscure. #DontUseAbsurdlyLongHashtags. #TheyreUnnecessary.

4. You Use Too Many Hashtags

Using multiple hashtags is useful in that it allows you to reach a couple different audiences. For instance if you posted a photo to Instagram of your dog at a beautiful beach with mountains in the background, you may want to appeal to dog lovers, but you may also want to reach users interested in the background.

That said, you should be limiting the amount of hashtags you use. Using too many can look over-sold and desperate. Most people like to use somewhere between 3-7 hashtags.

5. You Wreck yourself (Remember to #CheckYourself)

You may think you’re being clever and witty, creating a hashtag all your own. It’s perfect okay at times to use a hashtag that has low popularity or that you made up, as long as it serves a purpose.

Twitter and Instagram both have search areas to check the popularity of a hashtag. If you are creating your own, just take a second to re-read through your post and re-evaluate whether others will understand your joke. You may need to rephrase, you may need to take it out completely. Or you could be hilarious.

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