How to up Your Hashtag Game


Love them or hate them, hashtags are ubiquitous.  They are now so ingrained in our culture and vocabulary that the word appears in the Oxford American Dictionary, and even the official Scrabble dictionary.  Hashtags have arrived.

For avid users of social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pintrest, hashtags are unavoidable.  Some users spend a lot of time honing the perfect, witty hashtag.  Others peruse them, either for entertainment value or to search out specific topics of interest to them.  Of course, we all have those annoying friends who post self-serving hashtags with their photos (#brittanystillhot).  Savvy users find hashtags a helpful tool and utilize them in a variety of ways.


The most obvious is to find content relevant to you and your interests.   For example, you can go to Instagram and type in either a complete hashtag (#rob’s30thbirthdaybash) or keywords (#knicks).  Anything with that hashtag or keyword will appear.  From friends to sports to politics, hashtags can guide you to information curated for YOU.  The information will come from many sources, so may also expose you to different perspectives, rather than one narrow point of view.  Type in the name of a politician, e.g. #kamalaharris, and you will get posts from her official website, but also news sources, and fans and detractors alike.  The posts may be biased or unbiased, but they are filtered by you, and not a third party.  You can also get real time updates on people or events that are trending, again curated by you and guided by your own tastes.

You can also use hashtags to categorize the content you post or search.  A hashtag that is too general (#democrats) will yield too many posts to be useful.  A more specific hashtag (#democratswomenbrooklyn) will serve to narrow the responses to your area or needs or point of view.  These hashtags may also connect you with others with the same needs or point of view, and not just your regular Instagram followers.


Focused use of hashtags can broaden your visibility on social media.  Some users visit the Explore section of the Instagram app and enter hashtags or keywords so that the algorithm can help them locate their desired content.  Your judicious use of hashtags can help Instagram understand your tastes.  More importantly, it can help other explorers find you, and perhaps follow you.  This is how influencers are born.

 Whether you’re searching or posting, make your hashtags specific and focused.  You will find the content you need, and followers will find you.