Hashtags. The word rocketed to fame when Twitter user Chris Messina used the very first one almost 10 years ago.
But even after almost 10 years, we still don’t seem to know how to properly use them. Here are some guidelines for how to properly and effectively use hashtags.
One mistake many people make with hashtags is using them for words and phrases that are too generic, like #read, #everything, or #today. You need to remember that hashtags are meant to be used to find conversations about the same topics. The word everything is not specific enough to be used effectively as a hashtag.
Don’t be too specific.
Sometimes people do this just to poke fun at hash tags, writing a whole sentence as a hashtag. If I use the hashtag #NoOneHasEverUsedThisHashtagBecauseItsTooLong I should understand that no one else is going to find or use this hashtag.
Don’t use too many hashtags.
This one should be obvious, but it still needs to be said. Many people post tweets or instagram posts with as many hashtags as possible, in order to maximize the visibility of their post. But this is in fact not helping their content be seen. Studies show that using more than 2 hashtags results in lower levels of engagement, and it only gets worse the more hashtags you stack on your post.
Use the right hashtags.
Using the right hashtag is important. You want to find a hashtag that is used, but not overused. If you use a hashtag that is super popular, your post will get drowned in a sea of other posts, and will likely not be seen. A good example of this is the Olympics. With the whole world tweeting about the Olympics at the same time, most posts with the hashtag #rio2016 fell through the cracks. A good resource to help you decide which hashtag to use is RiteTag. RiteTag shows you which hashtags are trending, which are overused, and even which hashtags are likely to grow in popularity in the future.
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