How to Use Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram: Tips for Newbies

First, what are hashtags?

Hashtags are used as a "grouping" method for content on Twitter and Instagram. You can think of them like categories. The most amazing thing about them, though, is that they are not a pre-made set of categories, and instead are created organically.

What does that mean for you? It means that you can make a hashtag about any daggone thing you want!

Twitter defines hashtags as "a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets." (See the Twitter Fan Wiki) Translation: Hashtags automatically give your 140-character post more meaning by including them in a group of related posts. It adds data about data related to your category.

For example, if you want to get the attention of other Hubbers on Twitter, you might include "#Hubpages" in your post. That way, anyone who clicks on ANYONE else's post that includes that same hashtag will now be closer to seeing your post. It eliminates billions of tweets from getting in the way of your content for that user who is interested in hearing more about Hubpages. In the same way, anyone who sees your post and wants to learn more about Hubpages can click on your hashtag and be directed to other posts with similar categorization. Make sense? If not, test it out!!

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How to Use Hashtags

All you really have to do to use a hashtag is type the following into your Tweet:

#(wordofyourchoice)

Really. OK, don't literally write "word of your choice." Fill it in with the actual word of your choice, and put the pound symbol before it. Keep in mind that this "word of your choice" can be "wordsofyourchoice," as long as there are nospacesbetweenthewords. You follow?

Now, if you really want to have a lot of followers or at least a lot of readers, try to do a little research on the "word of your choice." For example, if you are tweeting about a current event, see if it has been tweeted about already, and use a hashtag that has already been used to describe that event.

Tips for Hashtag Use and Hashtag Etiquette

  • If you are using more than one word, it is a good idea to use upper case letters for the FirstLetterofEachWord. This is called CamelCase.
  • Twitter asks that you be careful about your hashtag use. In other words, use sparingly and don't simply place one in your tweet for the heck of it. Use them with purpose.
  • Think about your readers with hashtag use. They aren't exactly pretty, so if you have a hashtag in every one of your posts, they might get annoyed with you and stop following.
  • Only add hashtags if they will enhance your post. Think of the #Hubpages example above. If you are just being greedy and want people to go to your page, reconsider how much that tag will enrich the actual content. In other words, if your post is ABOUT Hubpages wonderfulness, then use it. If it is just about your hub, don't.
  • Check out hashtags on hashtag.org, a tracking site. Follow them (@hashtag) to have your hashtags added to the mix!

Happy tweeting!!

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