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Numbers, Pounds, Hashtags. This little icon has come a long way through history. Grandma says it’s a number sign. Dad argues it’s a pound sign, and today’s generation, well, they have no idea what the fuss is all about because, in their world, it’s a hashtag.

What is so important about this symbol? What has made it the MUSTuse item in the world of Social Media? Recognition! 

It has become one of the many recognizable faces of the corporate, writing, and small business owner’s world, to name a few.

Ranches use brands on their livestock to provide immediate identification to anyone who sees it. The animal’s brand establishes the animal’s ownership.

In the social media world, #hashtags have become a way to enhance, promote, and identify your brand. A #hashtag used with your product, your company, or your book’s name gives much sought-after advertising without spending any money. The more you use #words about you and your product, the more it spiders out to the world. It is your identifier. It is one of the things followers, friends, and family can use to support what you are doing. 

There is etiquette and guidelines to follow when journeying through the #hashtag world. A few things to keep in mind are: 

  • Use relevant hashtags. If you are promoting #woolsocks, using #doyouwearcottonsocks is probably not a good choice; however, #writinginwoolsocks or #spinningwool could fit in. 
  • Place the majority hashtags at the end of the post. The use of a few within the post, depending on its length, is accepted. 
  • Keep it short. Use common hashtag acronyms and short forms of the word. #tbt equals #ThrowBackThursday. #yyc equals #Calgary. 
  • Twitter suggests using 1-3 hashtags. The allowable number of characters is 280. That’s characters, not words, and includes hashtags. 
  • Instagram says up to 30 hashtags is acceptable. A side note to using hashtags on Instagram – use 3-4 at the end of your post. Once it is posted, open the comment section for the post and add more #hashtags. This allows for a few things. 1. Your post is short and sweet and not overwhelmed with hashtags that may or may not get read, and take away from the message in your post. 2. It gives your post at least one comment, which helps in the algorithms. 3. Provides a space to promote more than the post’s topic – although this should be minimal.
  • Blogs are another good place to add a few hashtags, and  Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social media platform.
  • Create a hashtag cheat sheet for your social media. Include book titles, writing topics, company name, genre-specific, and trending topics you share on social media. Add on a few miscellaneous hashtags such as #bookstagram and #amwriting. I live in Alberta, Canada, and I include #canadianwriter and #albertaauthor, along with #annedallrobsonbooks.  Cheat sheets can be added to and manipulated to what works for you. 

This old-fashioned number sign is one of the best friends you can have when promoting and selling you and your product. When a rancher sells his cattle at auction, buyers may not know the seller personally, but the brand says it all about the owner, thus providing credibility and the want or need to buy the animals. 

Hashtags are another alternative to find you through search engines. You want to promote your business? It’s time to take the bull by the horns and let this old-fashioned number sign become your best friend. 

How do you use hashtags to promote yourself and your writing?

Ann Edall-Robson relies on her heritage to keep her grounded. Reminders of her family’s roots mentor her to where she needs to go. Gifting her with excerpts of a lifestyle she sees slipping away. Snippets shyly materialize in Ann’s writing and photography. She is a lover of life and all things that make us smile. Edall-Robson shares moments others may never get to experience at HorsesWestDAKATAMA™ Country, and Ann Edall-Robson where you can also contact her. Books written by Ann Edall-Robson are available through her website, at Amazon, and various other online locations.

#CRLC #QuiteSpirits #Hashtags #AnnEdallRobsonBooks #OldFashioned #UsingHashtags #GetRecognized #CarrotRanch


16 Comments

  1. What an interesting read, Ann. I get asked questions about hashtags all the time. Would you advise people to add them in the body of a blog post, or, in your opinion, are they only for social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc?

    I sometimes use them in the titles of my blog posts. Learned early on never to use more than three hashtags in the title of a blog post – otherwise, the search engines class them as spammy. I also see people use popular hashtags that have nothing to do with the subject of their posts. I can only assume that means some readers are taken to a post under false pretences and probably won’t come back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ann Edall-Robson says:

      Hugh, thanks for weighing in on this topic. In my opinion, and I am sure there will be those who would debate the point, you can use hashtags where ever you would like.

      Personally, I don’t use them in titles. I have tried them in this location, but didn’t feel it was of benefit to what I was doing. They certainly have their place there in some instances, and it is not an uncommon usage.

      Including them in the body of a blog is again a personal preference. I would rather give my readers a specific link that opens to information pertaining to my blog than incorporate a hashtag that will take them to all of the results found in the search engines. They then have to choose which one they think is relevant to open and read.

      I usually keep my list of hashtags nested at the bottom of my blog and other SM posts. However, direct posts to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and twitter will have a smattering of hashtags in the body – it’s expected. I have each of these SM platforms linked to one or more to the other in order to take advantage of posting once to spider out to the others.

      Hashtags is a topic that piques the interest of the newbie and those that have ventured down this path already. Again, I say, this is a personal preference. What works for you and I, may not work for others because the world of what is #trending in SEO’s seemingly changes before you are able to insert the last period.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Ann. Personally, I wouldn’t say I like seeing hashtags in the body of a blog post. I think it distracts and makes a post look rather odd. However, keywords seem to be much better suited for blog posts. It seems there are updated lists for trending keywords too.

        I much prefer tagging my blog posts. After writing the final draft, I ask myself what words I would use to find this post? I then use those words as tags and have had great results from them. Using keywords in the title of blog posts also helps.

        However, I am going slightly off the hashtag path here. Thanks again for bringing to our attention the importance of using them.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Hugh, do you recommend a resource for lists of trending words? How do you decide if a word fits? Sometimes I think writers see a word trending and it seems to fit, but it’s a good idea to go look at the tag in action. I remember when I was tagging posts for a food co-op, a trend that looked like a perfect fit for farm-fresh food turned out to be pornographic!

        Liked by 2 people

      • You got to be so careful what keywords you use, Charli. As Ann outlined in her post, Google is a great place to start looking for keywords. Do what she did for Carrot Ranch when she looked for #carrotranch and you’ll get a list of trending keywords for the word you’ve added. Another good place for finding keywords is Ubersuggest. However, I believe adding the right tags to your post is far more important. That way, more users of WordPress will find your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ann Edall-Robson says:

        I agree with your comments, Hugh. Just because you like the trending word with the hashtag in front of it doesn’t make it relevant to you or your product. Due diligence is needed with all of our work we present to the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jules says:

    I am not yet into social media other than my blog which is for my readers and my own pleasure. I like the history you provided.

    Your post reminds me of the ‘&’ which was once considered an alphabet letter. the # has evolved to a more ‘elevated position 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ann Edall-Robson says:

      It is certainly a personal choice to use or not use hashtags, Jules.

      Ahh yes, I had forgotten about the ‘&’ alphabet letter debunkle.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ann Edall-Robson says:

    On a sidetone for those who don’t know, hashtags are another form of SEO’s (search engine optimizers) that help to get us recognized/found by moving us up the ladder of the algorithms that decide our fate.

    Hashtags help to make the searches more defined. For example if you enter #carrotranch in your search bar, there is 1030 +/- results. If you type in carrotranch, the results will give you 28,900+/- choices to wade through..

    So whether you want to be found by others, or you are in search of information yourself, using hashtags may be of benefit to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Great advice for writers, Anne. I love how you introduce your post with the evolution of # between generations.

    It is practical to find information by hashtags. For example, I wanted news on an unfolding event and searched by the hashtag for the most relevant and current reporting. I’d add that writers need to make sure their post is relevant. It can diminish your credibility if you use a tag because it’s trending. However, if a trending tag aligns with a piece you’ve written, use it.

    Also, when looking for books to read in a specific genre, I often search by hashtag, too.

    To add to your and Hugh’s discussion, I don’t think it matters where you put the hashtag. Personally, I don’t like the look of a hashtag in a headline or title, but that’s purely aesthetic and a preference. I use the tag feature in WP and you remind me that I can improve the searchability of my posts on social media by adding them to tweets and FB posts.

    Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ann Edall-Robson says:

      Thanks for your added comments on this topic. I couldn’t agree more about being careful with the hashtags you include. Tags, links, and any other forms of bringing attention to your posts can make or break your credibility. If you know your genre and/or the topic you are writing about, it becomes easier to choose the ‘right ones’ to enhance your online presence.

      I find searching by hashtags, because they are more condensed in their results, make life a lot easier when I am doing any kind of research.

      Like

  5. This was so helpful, Ann! I am one to add hashtags on certain things when I want to be sure to reach a greater audience and give a boost to my brand, but there was always a bit of gray area to their usage. I get the general concept, but your post provided greater insight. Much appreciated!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ann Edall-Robson says:

      I am glad this was of help to you. There is much in the social media world that is overwhelming and tackling it one step at a time makes for happiness.

      Like

  6. What a great introduction to hashtags! I’ve started using them more and more for promotion. They work and make it so much easier to find things. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ann Edall-Robson says:

      Thanks Colleen. Hashtags can fall into two categories (my opinion) – friend or foe. It makes me smile to see you have them in your camp as friends. They can work hard for us if we take the chance on using them. Incorporating a few and moving to more and more is a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

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