Beginner’s Guide to Hashtags

how to use hashtagsWith the recent introduction of hashtags on Facebook, all of the most popular social sites have officially jumped on the “hashtag bandwagon.” Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and Tumblr now recognize hashtags. For all my social media newbies, a hashtag is a pound symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase with no spaces (i.e. #hashtag #socialjeanie). Hashtags are often used to link to a specific event, tv show or trending topic. For example, many people used the hashtag #NBAFinals to see who else was talking about the game and to join the conversation and connect with other fans. Now that hashtags have invaded, it is important to know when and how to use them on the different networking sites.

Hashtag Guidelines: 

1) Don’t over do it – People don’t like to feel spammed. Studies show that the number of clicks on a post dramatically decreases in tweets with more than 2 hashtags.

2) Search the hashtag before you post it – You may find after researching that there isn’t as much buzz around the topic as you want, or it isn’t targeting the right people.

3) Look up popular tags – Find out what is trending. This changes day to day and minute to minute. Be vigilant about what is in the news and what people are talking about.

4) Post in real time – Hashtags are not something that you can plan. Unless you can predict the future, try to stay up with current conversations.

5) Keep it short – #DontMakeRidiculouslyLongHashtags. They are less searchable and hard to read.

How Hashtags Differ on Different Social Sites:


Hashtags originated on Twitter, so it’s only fitting that you need to use them to be successful on the site.  Twitter’s main strength is its ability to create conversations during live events. Concerts, tv shows and new album releases are some of Twitter’s most popular trending topics. In the top bar search key phrases that have to do with your business. Look through the results to find trending hashtags. These may include “Twitter chats,” where you will join a conversation with people in your field along with potential clients.


Because hashtags are so new to Facebook, people are still getting a feel for how to utilize them. There is less of a tolerance for spam on facebook, so make sure that you use hashtags sparingly. People do not like to feel like they are being spammed, so try not to use more than a couple hashtags in each post.


Oddly enough, hashtags have very little effect on Pinterest. When searching something on Pinterest, you will find results regardless of whether or not it has a hashtag. Because of this you shouldn’t worry about them while pinning. Instead focus on writing a good description for your pins. This will allow people to find your pin whether or not you add a hashtag.

If you are having trouble finding time to fully understand how to use hashtags and social media for your business, contact The Social Jeanie to learn about how you can hire an expert social media manager.

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