By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Used properly a hashtag can be really cool. Hashtags provide an opportunity for sly editorial comment, for parallel and perpendicular trains of thought, in the limited space that Twitter and, to some extent, Facebook provide.” Bill Walsh
What is a #FollowedbyWords?
What is that thing above? A Hashtag? Misspell? Typo? It’s how we write hashtags, which are words, phrases, or keywords preceded by the pound symbol (#). Chris Messina, a social technology expert, wanted to help like-minded people find specific information or groups more easily. His original hashtag tweet was, “?how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]??
While this is easily understood today, in 2007, it was a new idea that significantly changed how we alert people to events, causes, or topics.
7 Million Blog Post Daily!
Did you know that there are approximately 7 million blog posts published daily? That’s a lot for anyone to sift through to find helpful hints and tips, educational information, or just something to entertain us.
Yes, we can Google, Bing or Duck Duck Go to find posts that appeal, but we can also narrow our searches by using a hashtag in our query.
Why Should You Use Hashtags on Your Blog?
If you want to help readers find you, a hashtag is essential. If you are writing in a niche, you’re already creating a hashtag. Whether it’s a literary blog like Two Drops of Ink or my addiction and recovery blog, From Addict 2 Advocate, both have hashtags reinforcing their overall intent.
For instance, this post is about hashtags, but I won’t just use that word as a tag but also include the standard #literaryblog as a reinforcing tag.
For From Addict 2 Advocate, what started as a statement of purpose eventually became a hashtag: #writingandrecoveryhealtheheart. While it’s too long, it is now searchable and directs people to various aspects of addiction and recovery.
How Do You Create a #?
Understanding that hashtags are important, you may wonder how to create a worthwhile one. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Consider the intent of your blog.
- Make it as short as possible and still be relevant.
- Identify your products, services, or topics.
- Format your hashtag, so it’s easier for social media users.
- You can use hashtags anywhere within your Tweet. If you begin your Tweet with a tag, it creates emphasis; written in the middle or end highlights a particular word.
Hashtags have a lot in common with Google keywords. If the tag is trendy, you’re competing with a more prominent website. While it’s important to recognize that social media influencers use that tag, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
What Makes a Good Hashtag?
My original hashtag for From Addict 2 Advocate was not a good one; however, it still works. I now use #fromaddict2advocate and get better results. It’s specific to the site, but conveys the message and intent of my work.
Hashtags can be either specific or nonspecific. Using a particular hashtag helps grow your readership. How? By keeping them in touch each time you post. Use it on all of your social media accounts, but don’t overdo it.
- Keep them simple to spell.
- Make sure they are easy to remember.
And don’t become frustrated with its results and change it every week; give it time to catch on. Being consistent is key to making a good hashtag work for you.
If you find it’s not a good one, then play around with several. If you’re writing in WordPress, you’ve got an option for hashtags, and you can assess your viewing numbers and where the visitors came from to see if your tags helped find readers.
You can also verify your tag using hashtagify.me which keeps you current with what’s trending in your niche or shows you what people follow. For writers, here are some of the most used and searched on Twitter:
#vss very short story
#webfic web fiction
#weblit web literature
#wip work in progress
Where Do You Use Your Hashtags?
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest posts all need a hashtag. I use #snrtg, a Retweet Group for Social Networks, on all my posts for both sites. Using this means that they will share my posts without me having to do anything else but tag them.
While that’s the purpose of this group and seemingly has nothing to do with a literary or addiction blog, using a trending topic that has nothing to do with your site can backfire. We saw this with Black Lives Matter and Me, too. If your site doesn’t write about these topics, don’t use them.
Don’t Use Annoying and Overused #s
Some hashtags started as informative. Now, they are just annoying and overused. #CatsOfTwitter, #MotivationMonday, #humblebrag – isn’t that an oxymoron? #blessed, #justsaying. And it’s not just Motivation Monday, there’s a hashtag for every day of the week.
If you look at the top 100 tags on Instagram, you’ll see a lot of overused words, too. As of June 2021, some of the most popular Instagram hashtags of all time include:
- #love (2.1B posts)
- #instagood (1.3B posts)
- #fashion (972M posts)
- #photooftheday (931M posts)
- #photography (769M posts)
- #beautiful (749M posts)
- #instagram (691M posts)
- #picoftheday (655M posts)
- #nature (639M posts)
- #happy (639M posts)
Now, if all the influencers are using them, your posts could get lost in the search or feed.
Will Using a Hashtag Make A Difference in Engagement?
There is a correlation between posts that use a hashtag and those that don’t. Chris Sabanty wrote:” Recently, we analyzed millions of tweets and found that some Twitter hashtags correlate with a 1,065% increase in engagement — clearly, hashtags still matter. More specifically, we found tweets with no hashtags averaged 1.7 interactions per tweet. Tweets that included #ico, the most popular hashtag, had an average of 19.8 interactions per tweet. That’s almost 12x higher engagement with the right hashtag.
With 12 times higher engagement, you can see why it’s essential for you to find your correct tag to reach your target reader and make finding you more accessible.
I’ve probably researched way too much, but let me leave you with these thoughts:
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
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