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What are Hashtags? How do you use Them?

hashtag

Hashtags are what we use to label and categorize information on online platforms. A hashtag is the pound/number key, followed by a series of letters, words, or phrases that have no spaces in between. They can be used to tag and post relevant information to an online platform like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and many more. When they are posted, the information is tagged and is easily searchable within that social platform.

Where should I be using hashtags?

You can use hashtags on most social media sites but they work differently depending on which platform you use. Twitter is the most well-known social media site that utilizes hashtags because it is an easy way to categorize information within 280 words. You can use them in any tweet or comment, as well as in your bio. They can be a great way to join the conversation about people, things, movements, or ideas that you or your business may follow. Twitter also allows its users to search via hashtag and keeps a list of the hashtags that are currently trending. 

Instagram is another social media platform where hashtags are almost always implemented when uploading something new. Hashtags can be used on Instagram Stories, bios, and searched for on the explore tab. What’s different about Instagram in comparison to Twitter is that you can actually follow specific hashtags instead of just accounts. This means that you will receive content from multiple different creators that post something with that specific tag under it.

Hashtags on other social platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, etc. function similarly to those mentioned above. They may differ slightly, but the act of tagging content in order for users to find it is all relatively the same. Hashtags are important on any social platform, but Twitter and Instagram arguably utilize them the most. 

Finding your audience

As mentioned before, users can easily search for specific content through hashtags, so this is a great way to reach new people! It is important to find the right balance between trending tags and niche tags. For example, if you only tag things that are trending right now, your content has a good chance of getting lost with all of the other posts under the same tag. Finding somewhat niche and specific tags could help to target people who are specifically interested in what you are promoting or selling. 

Don’t overdo it

One of the biggest unspoken rules about hashtags is to not overdo it! Don’t include too many tags in a post, or else it starts to look cluttered and not as professional. Twitter has a character limit, but Instagram does not. This makes it really easy for users to over-tag their content. Five to ten hashtags on an Instagram post are more than enough to be found online. Another thing to keep into consideration is that you should caption posts on Instagram before tagging them. No one wants to read hashtags as the caption. They should come after.

Resources to improve your hashtags

You may be wondering how to find what hashtags are trending right now, so here are some resources! RiteTag and Hashtagify.me are both websites that analyze what is trending right now. They both are free to an extent, but some content is restricted to paying customers only. Regardless, if you need help with creating hashtags, these are a great way to see what people care and are talking about online right now.

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