Hashtagging is a great way to tag content you post to the social web and optimize it for social sharing. The concept of hashtags was created by Twitter and has since spread to other services. When you add a hashtag, you allow services that afford content streams/content feeds the ability to place your content into the global stream/feed, exposing your content to a greater audience and with any luck, driving engagement levels up, up, and away.
In order to optimize your use of hashtags, and to avoid improper use, follow this handy guide to learn about what services afford hashtagging, best practices and things to avoid.
Hashtagging works extremely well on two services, Twitter and Instagram.
Twitter is arguably the best place to hashtag your content and hashtags are a critical part of Twitter’s content personalization strategy. There is some confusion over whether users can use hashtags to geo-target Tweets, in fact, you can not geo-target by adding #California to your Tweet. In this instance, your Tweet is added to the #California stream, but all users still see the Tweet. By adding hashtags to your Tweets, you’ll automatically be using more descriptive words, thus making your Tweets more engaging.
Instagram, the facebook-owned, wildly-popular photo sharing service is a great place to add hashtags. Some hashtags on Instgram are permanently trending like #instagood #love, and because so many users are selfie-absorbed, #me. Add descriptive tags to your next photo to ensure greater reach and exposure.
Some users add #hashtags to Facebook posts – there is no social sharing benefit when you do, since Facebook does not recognize hashtags, (Google+ however, does!) If anything, it looks sloppy to place hashtags in Facebook copy. Try using your creative writing skills to create a catchy post instead.
Be sure your hashtags are relevant and have broad appeal; the point of hashtagging is to place your content in popular streams/feeds. The hashtag #imhavingsomuchfun, probably doesn’t see much engagement.
Striking a balance between promotion and over-sharing is critical to proper hashtag use. At a maximum, I’d recommend three hashtags per post. Usually one will suffice. Anymore and you’ll start to look desperate. Always remember, good content is the best strategy for increased social engagement.
Next time you snap an awesome landscape shot, or find that witty thing to Tweet on Twitter®, be sure to add one or two descriptive hashtags to help your content reach more folks with greater impact.
The 100 Most Popular Hashtags on Instagram
What are hashtags? - Twitter Support Center