04 June 2013

Social media tips: Hashtags #aquicklesson

Here's a quick lesson on hashtags. Because lots of people ask me 'what's a hashtag?' or aren't sure how to use them.

A hashtag looks like this: #word.

They're a grouping tool, allowing for people to search social media platforms for specific topics - like #Melbourne #cloud #food #whatiwore (just like metadata on a website).

Hashtags work well on Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr.

They don't translate so well from those aforementioned social media platforms back to Facebook. So if you link your Instagram photos to Facebook, and hashtag them, the hashtag becomes redundant (until Facebook gets hashtag support). When I hashtag pictures on Instagram, I put them in a comment below the picture so it doesn't interfere with the description or comment, and doesn't pollute my Facebook feed when I share it on Facebook.

Hashtags work really well when commenting on events or TV shows (like #AFLSaintsPies or #QANDA). It means people can easily follow a discussion. If a lot of people are using a certain hashtag on Twitter, that topic can trend - known as a 'trending topic'. I love the way they can allow people who aren't at an event (like a conference) to follow the discussion and join in the conversation from wherever they are.

Sometimes they can work as a statement (like #Thatswhatshesaid or #justsaying) but that's a bit of an in-joke, I think.

You can't punctuate hashtags. They lose the searchability function

There's no need to book end words with hashtags (#like# #this#). The hashtag only needs to go at the start of the word.

Don't overuse hashtags. Choose a few key words and use them in your tweet, and consider putting them at the end of your main text so your message is no cluttered.

While it is wonderful to receive blog comments, it's really not necessary to #write #the #comment #solely #in #hashtags #like #this. Really.

And there's definitely no need to use them in an email, a text message or a blog post (ones explaining hashtags are exceptions of course!).

Lastly, definitely don't hashtag a word in a verbalised sentence (like "hashtag LOL"). Just no.

Hashtag lesson over. #yourewelcome #redundanthashtag ;)

PS: I was a guest on the Newbie Writers podcast over the weekend. Click here to listen to my husky morning voice.

It you've got any questions about blogging or social media, do send them my way.

Previous blogging tips:

So you wanna start a blog?!

Statistics vs the desire to write

Write like someone's watching

Invest in those who invest in you

Being a responsible employee and social media user

Social media and employees

Being a responsible patient on social media

Blogging as therapy

Taking your blog to the speaking circuit (guest post on Styling You)

What I know about writing (Tale Teller podcast)

Finding the blogging balance

Six tips for new bloggers



  1. I wish people on Facebook that have neither twitter or instagram would read this.

    I also wish people would do their 3829103810 hashtags in a separate comment on IG so they don't pop up on FB.

    Like you alluded to, the hashtagging of every single word is rather desperate too.


  2. Hashtags on FB annoy me but I think they sometimes set the tone of what someone is trying to say. Thanks for the post :)


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