It seems daily that I’m asked about hashtags: what are they and what are they supposed to do? I try to provide a simplistic answer to avoid confusing the folks who don’t fully grasp the concept of social media.
Essentially, a hashtag is a way of grouping similar topics. If you were to type in #isntthisanumbersign, you’d see all the posts with that particular hashtag, which shows a lot of people trying to figure out how Twitter works. But, you get the gist.
When we are creating Instagram or Twitter posts for clients, we include some hashtags to easily identify common topics related to our posts. For Instagram, it’s usually several, while we stick to one or two on Twitter (thanks to character limits).
Hashtags are a great way to find and connect with other users in real time. For example, if you’re attending a live event or watching something on television and want to join the conversation online via the show hashtag.
But, like anything, there are always people who overuse. My gripe… those who are relentless with hashtags, especially on their personal profiles. They include thirty or more for a post of their selfie or their breakfast. Believe it or not, #baconandeggs doesn’t need its own following. Nor does anyone need to know that you #wokeuplikethis, #brushedmyteeth, #gotdressed, (#mystyle, #stylinandprofilin #jeansandtshirts), #gotgas and more before we even get to #wakeywakeyeggandbakey.
Come on, admit it… that was annoying to read!
Other hashtag annoyances:
- using your kids’ name – that’ s just pretentious
- hashtagging every single word in a post
- putting hashtags on LinkedIn posts, especially multiple times in one post
- treating hashtags as part of your verbal conversations (just for fun, check this out)
I think the reason people overuse or misuse hashtags is simply because they don’t understand it – they’re either trying to be cool or they just figure it’s a good tactic. My advice is to remain mindful when using hashtags. Avoid confusion and redundancy. Please #stopoverusinghashtags!