A Breakdown on Hashtags

If you haven’t noticed, hashtags are a huge part of social media. But it can be mind boggling to come up with a strategy on how to use them effectively. For those who have seen the short skit that Jimmy Fallon has done with Justin Timberlake where the duo banters back and forth using hashtags excessively, it probably made you think of some users on social media who abuse hashtags just like they did. (For those who haven’t seen the video, you can watch here.)

If you’re new to social media and are therefore new to #hashtags, check out this Beginner’s Guide to Hashtags from Mashable.

By following these array of hashtag tips and ways to use hashtags, you can avoid sounding like Jimmy and Justin (and a few of your friends maybe):

Brainstorm your hashtag.

You want a hashtag that captures the message of the conversation that will happen through it, you want people to remember it, and you want to make it short enough so that people will use it and still be able to fit enough characters to share their message (most importantly on Twitter, since it is limited to 140 characters per tweet). Start with a list of all of your hashtags ideas, walk away from it, and then weed out the weak hashtags.

Know your hashtag limits.

While there aren’t social media police around to put you in jail if you use too many hashtags, you should definitely know when enough is enough. For Instagram, 11 hashtags is the recommended limit for your post caption, and on Twitter typically two good hashtags is a good basis, especially with limited character amount. On Facebook, hashtags aren’t as popular, so if you do use them, make sure you have a goal in mind for the hashtags.

Don’t clutter your post with hashtags.

This tip is mainly relevant for Instagram, but it can help your Instagram posts nonetheless. If you want to add multiple hashtags without cluttering the text of your post, simply add a comment with all of the hashtags you wanted to use. Your post will still be tagged with a hashtag and therefore show up if someone searches the hashtag you are tagged in.

Research hashtags to find new customers.

Find where your customers and potential customers are engaging on social media. If you find an industry similar to yours, see what general hashtags businesses and their customers are using, and add those popular hashtags to your social media posts so people will come across your business.

There is plenty more hashtag advice out there, but these are just some basics to get you going. The internet is home to articles, such as this one, that can offer plenty of ideas to creatively use hashtags.

Jillian Wilschke
Addison Avenue Intern, Jillian Wilschke, is a sophomore at Ball State University studying Public Relations. When she's not keeping busy crossing things off her to-do lists, she considers herself a ketchup connoisseur and a dance enthusiast.

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