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How To Use Hashtags

Hashtag Hacks: Best hashtag practice

Hashtags have skyrocketed in the past ten years, going from something only a handful of tech-savvy people used, to something that nearly all of us are exposed to every day.

Like any type of communication, hashtags have rules, guidelines and etiquette which govern their best practice. While each different social media platform has its own hashtag guidelines, there are some universal hashtag rules. Taking a little time to understand these rules will help you to hashtag like a pro in no time.

Hashtag placement

Hashtags can be placed anywhere in a post: at the beginning, middle or end.

While there’s no cut-and-dry rule about hashtag placement, they’re most often placed at the end of posts. Mid-sentence hashtags run the risk of interrupting the flow of the text, but can be a useful way to conserve characters when posting on Twitter.

Rein it in

With the exception of Instagram, typically one or two hashtags are the optimum number per post. Over-use of hashtags instantly marks out new or inexperienced social media users.

Capitalisation

Hashtags are not case-sensitive, so #newcastlelive and #NewcastleLive will yield the same results. However, it is usually best practice to capitalise each word in your hashtags as this greatly improves clarity and readability.

To be on the safe side make sure your hashtag reads well both capitalised and uncapitalised as it can be used both ways.

Trending hashtags

Trending hashtags are hashtags that are popular on social media at a given time. You can give your posts a great visibility boost by including trending hashtags, as your post will be included in results whenever users search trending topics.

You can find out which hashtags are trending by:

  • searching within the social media platform you’re using – for instance Twitter and Facebook have trending topics sections
  • using analysis sites like hashtagify.me which display hashtag statistics and trends
  • checking trendsmap which shows which hashtags are trending geographically on an interactive map

The golden rule: Never spam trending topics. Using irrelevant trending hashtags to boost your posts is massively frowned upon and highly unprofessional. Always make sure you’re contributing to the conversation rather than just jumping on the bandwagon.

Keep it short, sweet and relevant

Remember, people find your posts by searching for hashtags. If you use long, convoluted or obscure hashtags you instantly reduce your chances of being found.

A #ridiculouslylonghashtaglikethisone is not only very hard to read but also very unlikely to be searched, whereas a nice #ShortHashtag is descriptive, neat and easily searchable.

Make sure you keep your hashtags relevant to your post for two equally important reasons:

1. Using irrelevant hashtags is a big social media gaffe that will irritate other users and make you look unprofessional #penguin
2. Using appropriate hashtags will help like-minded people, who are interested in what you’ve got to say, find your posts #HashtagHacks

By adhering to guidelines and etiquette you can create a professional and effective online presence harnessing the power of the hashtag.

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