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How to #hashtag

How to #hashtag

Many more people are using hashtags (represented by the # symbol) these days than in the past, but there still remains some lingering confusion about them, specifically when to use them, when to not use them, and how many are appropriate.

In general, it’s a good idea to use just a few hashtags in any given post; don’t use too many, because it can make your post awkward and confuse (Instagram seems to be an exception to this, which we will discuss momentarily). 

Also, it’s incredibly important to make sure that the tags you use are relevant to your post and the topic at hand; mistagging a post can cause confusion for your followers at best and frustration from them at worst. People often scroll through certain tags for similar content, and could potentially get upset if they find something tagged incorrectly or in a misleading way (if you post a picture of your dog, for example, but tag it as something else completely different; a situation like this could cause people to think you baited them in with a false tag).

Also, while Twitter is undoubtedly the medium where hashtags are used most often (and is, in fact, the site where hashtag first originated back in 2007), it’s not the only site that relies on them for filtering and organizing social media content; many other websites use the tagging system as well. Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook use hashtags as well (although Facebook’s tagging system is slightly different from the others), so it’s important to understand the proper use of hashtags if you intend for your platform to be successful in these social media mediums.

Luckily, there are resources available online that can help you better figure out which hashtags are appropriate for what you’re talking about in your posts; some sites like Ritetag.com can even tell you which tags are the most applicable and most popular, which can help you get more attention for your posts. There are also websites dedicated to the hashtag systems on different websites, which can help you figure out what might work best on Twitter compared to what might be better on Instagram.

Another thing to bear in mind is that while hashtags are becoming more commonly used on many websites, every site has its own unique system as well as its own standard of etiquette for hashtag use. For example, there are some websites where you should only use one or two hashtags (as mentioned above), while other sites encourage you to use as many hashtags as you want. One such a site is Instagram; there is even some evidence showing that posts with more hashtag get more attention. However, these tag-filled posts can also come across as spammy if the hashtags are overwhelming in quantity when compared to the ordinary tests, so do still try to exercise some moderation.

In general, it’s a good idea to research each website’s unique stance on hashtags and how to best use them; understanding every site’s hashtag etiquette is key to being successful on that platform, and you’ll be better off in the long run if you take the time now to become comfortable with each site’s methods.

All in all, when using a hashtag (or creating your own), the main thing to remember is to make sure that the tags you use are relevant and appropriate for whatever it is you’re discussing or advertising. And if you’re creating a new hashtag from scratch, try to make it as unique as possible, while still making it easy to remember.

Zack is Symposia's marketing manager and is responsible for all Symposia’s marketing content and brand assets.

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