How to Harness Your Hashtags

This entry is part 10 of the series Build a Better Blog

hashtag

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. It’s good to welcome members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 8th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to

H is for How to Harness Your Hashtags.

  • What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a label used for content. It helps other readers to find the topics they are interested in. By the same token, it helps you to find other comments or articles on the topic you’re researching. It was initially used in Twitter, but it is now often seen on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. If you’re a musician, you’ll recognise the hash symbol as the sharp sign or #. This is how the hashtags for the Pro-Blogger challenge appear: #writebravely or #writetribeblogger. If you click on either of those in Twitter, you will be able to read all the other tweets people have sent with the same hashtag.

  • Why would you use a hashtag in your blog?

And the answer is you won’t. BUT if you don’t promote your blog outside of your blog, you won’t have any readers. And no readers means no point in writing your blog. So although you won’t use hashtags inside your blog, you need to know about them so you can pass on news about your blog to the people who will be interested.

  • Hashtags are essential ways to build up traffic to your blog posts.

When you post about a new blog article on Twitter, if you add an appropriate hashtag you will be able to link up with other bloggers who have written on the same topic. The same applies to Facebook, Instagram and Google+, although they are used in a slightly different way. We looked at the topic briefly under Eager Enthusiasm where I explained how I discovered the effectiveness of this little sign. (Google the specific topic you want to learn more about.)

  • In Twitter, the use of the hashtag turns a word into a searchable link.

Say, for example, you want to read what people are saying about the pope. You could do a search for #pope and you will immediately see all the tweets people have posted recently about the pope. If you were participating in the A to Z Challenge,  you could use the hashtag #atozchallenge after your tweet, and you would be able to see others’ tweets on the same topic. Are you thinking about doing NaNoWriMo in November? Try looking for the hashtag, #nanowrimo. I have just done so, and there are already lots of tweets out there, posted by people who are already preparing for that challenge. If you use a program that helps you control your tweets such as Hootsuite,  you can also open a stream where all the tweets on the same topic will appear.

  • Create your own hashtag

. . . if you intend to use a word frequently. For example, when my book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer was about to be published, my publicist advised me to start the hashtag #StrengthRenewed and use that whenever I wrote about the book. Then I can always search for the hashtag to see if people are writing about the book or if they are retweeting my posts.
twitter screen4

  • Never use a space in your hashtag. 

If it has more than one word, as in #StrengthRenewed, write it as one word. Another example is #WriteTribeProBlogger. It doesn’t make any difference if you use capitals or not, so #writetribeproblogger would also work, but obviously it is clearer if you use capitals where there is more than one word.

  • Numbers are acceptable

. . .  for example in #The39Steps. You cannot, however, use symbols (except for the # in the beginning) or punctuation marks.

  • You can use more than one hashtag

. . . if appropriate, but it’s often better to not go overboard. According to a recent survey by TrackMaven, the best number on Twitter and Facebook is only one. They also found hashtags with 18 characters performed best. On Instagram,  the best performing posts were those with nine hashtags (goodness!). Also don’t repeat a hashtag, for example, “Build a Better Blog” #blog. Rather writeBuild a Better #Blog”.  

  • Do not send out tweets that comprise purely of hashtags. 

You’ll often spot tweets coming through that are just a list of hashtags, often with people’s names attached. It’s most annoying. No one is going to read them, and it is just a form of spamming. Always put decent content in your tweets to build up confidence in your name.

Sending out tweets comprising only of hashtags is SPAM. Click To Tweet
  • Use trending topics if they fit

These are subjects being discussed more than others at any particular time. Do not use trending hashtags that are not appropriate to your post. This is just spamming and will harm your reputation.

  • Use hashtags in FaceBook when appropriate

Remember to stick to only one. Right now, I find it fun to type the hashtag,#writebravely into the search bar of Facebook. Immediately I see all the posts related to the challenge by others who had used the same hashtag, regardless of whether I normally follow the person or not.

  • You can use hashtags in Google+, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest

They all use hashtags for the same basic purpose: to help you find other like-minded messages. But each has its own preferred ways of using them, so if you intend to use them, I suggest you Google them first to get the most out of your tag.

 “New streets should be Twitter friendly and be named with hashtags up front. I’d build a house on ‪#‎LoversLane‬.” Jarod Kintz, Xazaqazax Click To Tweet

  • Join one or two groups that use a hashtag and support one another

#MondayBlogs was started by an enterprising blogger, Rachel Thompson, a.k.a. The Bad Redhead who found Mondays was the best day to tweet. I use Hootsuite to manage my tweets and so I have a column specifically for Monday Blogs so I can see what’s happening and encourage other writers. We retweet, like and comment on one another’s blogs.

twitter screen1

  • Come up with a unique hashtag (like my #StrengthRenewed)

. . . or if you’re wanting to link with many others, use a popular tag. Tagboard.com is a useful site where you can search through Twitter, Facebook, etc for a specific hashtag. It gives you all the recent posts using the word you are looking for as well as the stats for them. For example, as I type this, #Blogging=3 posts a minute, #blogger = 12 posts a minute, and #blog = 14 posts a minute. So if I want to get as much exposure as I can, I will obviously choose Blog.

According to TrackMaven, the best number of hashtags on Twitter and Facebook is only one. Click To Tweet

FURTHER POSTS TO READ:

3D-Women-BLOG

How do you use hashtags?
Do you have any more tips to add?
Please share in the comment section below. 

 “New streets should be Twitter friendly and be named with hashtags up front. I’d build a house on ‪#‎LoversLane‬.” Jarod Kintz, Xazaqazax Click To Tweet

The next post on this theme will be on 3rd November. The Problogger challenge will be over by then, but this theme will continue each Friday.

20 comments on “How to Harness Your Hashtags

  1. Thanks Shirley for such an informative post. I do use # to tag keywords in my blogs. Yet I learnt a lot. This is just the beginning for me. Im learning something new each day from your blog. Will share.

    • Yes, it’s not a commonly known fact, but it can be useful if you’re doing a special challenge or topic. I’ve just searched Facebook for #writebravely, and sure enough, got a number of posts to read. Obviously not as many as perhaps the A to Z Challenge, but generally people aren’t used to using hashtags in FB. Enjoy your weekend.

    • Thanks for a clever question, Val. I immediately tried, and yes I have now got a # all on its own as one of my keywords on this post. So yes, you can use #, so you would be able to put a hashtag such as #atozchallenge into the keywords. I might just do that from now on. Thank you!

  2. #Yes #To #Hashtags…… and that’s exactly how a hashtag shouldn’t be used…..only keywords should have hashtags….they are helpful if used correctly

  3. Ah…the hashtag! I am aware of it, obviously, but really don’t use it very often. Twitter is the account I use to share anything that takes my fancy but it’s such a spontaneous share that I don’t even think about the hashtag. When I’m involved in some sharing programme I’ll use it.

    Must try harder!

  4. Thanks for the early response, Sue. Like you, I used hashtags without understanding them. I was surprised to see the results of the survey that the best number to use in Twitter was one! Hope you’re having a great day!

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