• Sara Uhlenbrock-Heath

5 Key Tips for Chronic Hashtag Users (and everyone else, too)

Hey there, #hashtag addicts (you know who you are)! Sorry to disappoint, but too many hashtags in a post might just be too much for the average eye to handle. No, really. Our brains aren't wired to read words that are stuck together like that. We don't always realize it, but our eyes tend to just glaze over all that hashtag clutter. Because the hashtag has gained popularity so quickly, for both businesses and those who simply use it to add a little extra punch to their posts (guilty), many of your followers are actually turned off by them. All those hashtags in and below the body your post can end up causing your followers to turn away from your posts or, even worse, eventually just skip over them in order to avoid the mess.

So what’s the alternative?

1. Limit your hashtags to 3 to 5 in the body of your post. You can add a few more if they truly pertain to what you're talking about.

2. A better alternative for those few posts (and for those of you who still feel you must include a plethora of hashtags) is to place them in a comment below your post. This way, they are still there and can affect search engines while remaining out of the way of your actual post (and not annoying your readers). But please don't place hashtags in both the post and the comments.

3. Be intentional. Do your research. Check to make sure you’re not just tossing hashtags out there in hopes one sticks or because you think it “looks good,” or because you just want your post to involve every hashtag you can think of that has anything to do with your industry. Do some research in your industry; see what your competition is using. Even better, find out what your target audience is using. What are they searching? Don’t feel like you have to use every single hashtag you believe pertains to you. What exactly are you writing about? Use hashtags that relate to that specific message, along with a few that you regularly use in all of your posts.

4. Bonus tip: CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord (ok, that was excessive, but you get the point). You want to make things as simple as possible for your followers, right? To make these hashtags (especially those in the body of your post) a bit more digestible for your followers’ eyes and brain, capitalize the first letter of each word if there is more than one word in that hashtag. This allows the brain to more easily digest each word.

I’m sure it goes without saying that many experts differ in their opinions on hashtag usage. But, with these tips, you stand a far better chance at including them without overwhelming, annoying or turning off your followers.