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Making Hashtags Work for You

Now that hashtags have been added to Facebook, they’re now an important part of all the major social networks. Unfortunately, not everyone is sure of how to use them, which leads to avoidance—and missed opportunities. Here are five ways to make hashtags work for you:

  • Major news stories: If a major news story breaks in your industry, there’s no better way to quickly get in on the action than the join the conversation on social media. However, if you just post your commentary without using the commonly associated hashtags, you’re posts will only be seen by your followers instead of a much broader audience. Using popular hashtags allows you to get your expert knowledge in front of a very important audience: people who are already looking for information on the topic.
  • Join a chat: many industries hold chats to talk to each other and answer questions from non-experts. These are always designated with a chat-specific hashtag. Joining these chats can help you dispense knowledge and grow your followers. You can find chats through announcements/participation from people you already follow, or by doing a quick search.
  • Tagging your name/business name: tagging your name or business name helps new followers or people who have stumbled across something you’ve written to find more information from you. Just make sure to delete the spaces between words when creating your tag when required. For example, your hashtag could be #firstname lastname on Tumblr, but would need to be #firstnamelastname on Twitter.
  • Tagging common industry terms: Adding common industry tags to your post on a site like Tumblr allows people searching for related information to find your advice and expertise. For instance, if you’re a financial planner, adding tags like #financialplanning and #retirement will make it much easier for those looking for retirement advice to find you.
  • Don’t over tag: While you can get away with more tags on some sites than on others, it’s never a good idea to add 30 tags to any one post. Not only does it make your posts very hard to read, but it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll ever find that many hashtags that really work for a single update. If they don’t make sense, then you’re just going to frustrate readers instead of engaging them.

Keep in mind that while using hashtags is valuable, even using them correctly won’t gain you an enormous amount of new followers overnight. That shouldn’t be the goal. Instead, incorporate them into what you’re already doing to help find and engage the people looking for your expertise. And as always, if you have questions, or want additional tips, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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