Hashtags 101

April 28, 2017

In our day and age of social media, one of the most prominent and longest-lasting trends has been the hashtag. What once used to be a simple pound sign within your phone’s keyboard is one of the most popular symbols used across numerous mediums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

So, what exactly is a hashtag? A hashtag (#) is the pound sign that is used in the social media realm that allows users to find, follow and contribute to the discussion associated to that hashtag. As simple as they seem, hashtags can sometimes be tricky to use. Below are some do’s and don’ts of using hashtags on your professional or personal account:


Make it relevant to your social environment

This best practice is geared more towards someone who is posting on behalf of their company on their social media accounts but applies to personal accounts as well. Basically, every account has its own social environment. What do I mean by that? A social environment is based on the type of followers and content any given account follows. For example, @PaulsenAg on #Twitter (see what I did there?) mostly follows clients, strategic marketing partners and thought leaders within the agricultural sector. Thus, that account’s social environment is mostly agricultural-oriented. Therefore, you will see Paulsen use hashtags such as #AgriMarketing, #LeadingAg, #AgRules, etc. We use these because they are relevant to the work we do for our clients. We also know that other agricultural-based accounts are talking to each other using these hashtags, thus allowing us to join the conversation.

Make sure it’s relevant to your post

Using a hashtag that does not pertain to the message of your post will seem odd to a reader. Sometimes it can come off as a tasteless practice if a user is utilizing an irrelevant or vague hashtag to their post just to gain more impressions, especially from an audience that they are not targeting.

Make it timely

It is important to make sure that the hashtags you are using are relevant to the time period in which you are posting. For example, you wouldn’t want to use #TBT (Throwback Thursday) on a Tuesday afternoon because that would look goofy and more than likely confuse readers.


Hashtag whole sentences

#Hashtaggingwholesentencesisbadbecauselookhowharditistoreadthis (Can you imagine having to decipher that?) Keep it short and sweet, and be creative with it!

Overuse hashtags

Too many hashtags in a post can be equally as distracting as hashtagging whole sentences. #This #Is #Not #As #Cool #As #One #May #Think. In addition, there aren’t very riveting conversations revolving around the hashtags #This, #Is or #As. (Trust me, I checked.)

Now that you have a better understanding of what that pound symbol means in the world of social media, get out there and get creative with it!