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Janet Peischel

Janet Peischel

We all hear about the power of hashtags these days and we’re seeing them all over social media.

It turns any word or group of words that directly follows it into a searchable link. The best way to think about hashtags is that they’re a grouping mechanism.

Let’s say I post a blog, identify a keyword phrase, content marketing, and include a hashtag, #contentmarketing.

Anyone who keys #contentmarketing into a search field is now more likely to pull up my blog.

If you understand the purpose of hashtags and learn how to use them, they become a powerful tool that will help you reach and engage your target audience and increase brand awareness.

Using hashtags in your posts makes them visible to anyone who shares your interest

Using hashtags in your social media posts makes them visible to basically anyone who shares your interest.

No longer are your posts limited to just your followers; your content now becomes accessible to all other users who are interested in similar topics.

Choosing good hashtags can significantly broaden the reach of your social media posts. Hashtags tie public conversations from all different users into a single stream, which you can find by searching for a hashtag and clicking on it.

Creating effective hashtags

Positioning. Hashtags can appear anywhere in your posts: front, middle or end. Positioning isn’t as important as their relevance and judicious application.

Users are turned off by a post that’s cluttered with excessive or lengthy hashtags, e.g. #ThisLongHashtagIsSoPointless.

Brevity is critical on social media. A short, declarative post with a few well-chosen hashtags should always be your goal.

#ChocolateLoversFest or #SpringFling17 are both hashtags that might be used for promotional events.

Limiting the number of hashtags

In general, keep your hashtags to two-three on Twitter; Instagram’s ideal number of hashtags is five. Use hashtags on Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest.

A recent Facebook article discussing the use of hashtags pointed out that engagement fell off significantly as the number of hashtags grew.

Best practices: hashtag do’s and dont’s

Use hashtags that are consistent with your brand.

Create hashtags to promote events.

Keep them short and memorable.

Capitalize the first letter of each word.

Use hashtags in Twitter chats.

Other things to keep in mind

A hashtag must be written as a single word, without any spaces.

Don’t use spaces or special punctuation. You can include numbers in a hashtag, but punctuation and special characters ($ and %) won’t work.

Search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of any browser window – it’s a searchable link.

Add context. A message, link, message or call to action.

Stay relevant. Don’t use a trending hashtag to draw users—even though it has nothing to do with your post. It happens.

If you’re just getting started, use hashtags that directly relate to your brand, product or service until you’re comfortable with their use. Start noticing how others are using hashtags creatively and effectively.

Janet Peischel is a writer, Internet marketing expert and the owner of Top of Mind Marketing. Contact Janet at 510-292-1843 or