How to up Your Hashtag Game
Love them or hate them, hashtags are ubiquitous. Now so ingrained in our culture and vocabulary, this powerful word even appears in the Oxford Dictionary and the official Scrabble dictionary. Hashtags have arrived.
For avid social media users, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, hashtags are unavoidable. Some of us spend a lot of time honing the perfect, witty hashtag to perfectly caption an image. Others peruse them, either for entertainment value or to seek out specific topics of interest to them. Of course, we all have those friends who post self-serving hashtags with their photos (#ChloeSlaysAgain). However, for savvy digital natives, hashtags a helpful and vital tool, utilising them in a variety of ways all for different purposes.
The most obvious is to find content relevant to you and your interests. For example, you can go to Instagram and type in either a specific hashtag like #NicoleAndJoeTieTheKnot or more general keywords such as #supreme. Anything with that hashtag or keyword will appear. From friends, to sports, to politics, hashtags can reveal information and posts curated for YOU. Coming from many sources, this vortex of posts may also expose you to different perspectives, rather than one narrow point of view. Type in the name of a politician, e.g. #DavidLammy, and you will get posts from his official channels, but also news sources, and fans and detractors alike. The posts may be biased or unbiased, but they are filtered by your search, and not a third party. For the instant gratification generation, hashtags are brilliant for getting immediate, real time updates on people or events that are trending, again curated by you and guided by your own tastes.
Hashtags are an amazingly satisfying way of categorising the content you post or search too. If looking for something specific, a hashtag that is too general such as #travel can sometimes yield too many posts to be useful. A more specific hashtag like #balibeaches will serve to narrow the responses to your area or needs or point of view. An amazing bonus to using hashtags in this way, is community. Searching by specific interest-led hashtags will not only take you to relevant content, but can also connect you with other social media users with the same needs or point of view as you, outside your regular Instagram followers.
Now, the most obvious reason we’re all obsessively hashtagging - followers. A focussed use of hashtags can broaden your visibility on social media. Some users visit the ‘Explore’ section on the Instagram app and enter hashtags or keywords so that the algorithm can help them locate their desired content. Your judicious use of hashtags can help Instagram understand your tastes, preferences and ‘liking’ habits. More importantly, it can help other explorers find you, and perhaps follow you... Win! All contributing to how ‘influencers’ are born; hashtags have and continue to play a key role in growing a follower-base.
Whether you’re searching, growing or posting - keep your hashtags strong, specific and focused. Using hashtags in the right way can help you find the content you want to see, and help users to find you.