To #hashtag or not to #hashtag

hashtag-horseWelcome to the wonderful world of the #hashtag. What was once upon a time the key to press to indicate confirmation on a dial phone or representing a number in written text, is now THE symbol for social media communication.

#confused? No problem, here’s the lowdown on what it is, why and when you should use it, and … when to cool it on the #hashtag usage (i.e. when it becomes #awkward)

 

#WHAT

A hashtag is a type of label used on social media platforms which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the “#” in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end.

#WHY

Searching for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it. A practical example, on Instagram, the hashtag #horse allows users to find all the posts that have been tagged using that hashtag.

#WHEN to #hashtag and #WHEN NOT to #hashtag

You can use hashtags on a variety of social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Vine, Pinterest etc etc. Let’s focus on two examples:

Twitter: This is really where the whole hash tagging phenomenon got started, and Twiter offers a bit more versatility in hashtags than with other social media. Twitter hashtags are used to denote topics of conversation, which can then become ‘trending’. In the ‘trending’ sidebar you can find a list of popular hashtags you might be interested in. Recent ‘trending’ hashtag examples: #trump, #beyonce or more relevant for equestrian businesses #horsehour.

Instagram & Facebook: : Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram (& Facebook) and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges like #tbt (throw back thursday – THE retro photo #).

Hashtags can help you gain awareness and followers if used correctly, within context and sparingly: #do #not #over #do #it #because #it #makes #you #look #a #bit #silly….

In order to be successful with (Instagram) hashtags, it’s important to be strategic about your hashtag usage. The “most popular” Instagram hashtags are just simple words, and while tagging #love #happy #fun may get you a few more likes, it’s not going to do much for your growth long term. Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience i.e. #equestrian, #oldenburger #dressage.

In fact, the narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users usually are. You can even go as far as creating your own # and continue using it a on all your communication.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-17-29-02The maximum hashtags you can use on an Instagram post is 30. But, 30 really is overdoing it a bit. Posting a wide variety of hashtags in your caption doesn’t look great, and could come across as a bit too promotional and slightly inauthentic. Instead, try choosing a few relevant hashtags that are most representative of your photo to use in your caption, and if you’d like to add more, then you could choose to add the rest in the first comment.

Here’s a list of a few popular Equestrian hashtags to get your started:

#equestrian #stallion #horsesofinstagram #andalusian #instahorse #horse #grateful #olympics #twohearts #horses #equine #horstagram #caballo #pferd #cheval #dressage #horseriding #pony #horselover #love #equinelove #horsetagram #horsebackriding #jumpinghorse #jumping #horselove #equestrians #equestrianlife

Still a bit lost? We can help you find the best ‘hash tagging strategy’ to build your business or grow your personal branding.

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6 thoughts on “To #hashtag or not to #hashtag

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