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By Dave Sumter
Updated 24 Dec 2015
Hashtags are a powerful way to extend your reach on most social networks.
If used incorrectly however, they can be a waste of time or annoying to others.
They allow you to tag your updates with relevant keywords, which enables networks like twitter and instagram to put them in front of people that don't follow you.
But if you use completely irrelevant hashtags (or too many of them) then your messages could become spammy (eg. #best #music #today #with #too #many #hashtags).
Also, using hashtags that millions of other people are using might mean that your messages get drowned out in the crowd (eg. #sport), so pick slightly more specific hashtags that are more likely to be seen.
There are many tools online for searching hashtags and getting suggestions.
This useful infographic from Quick Sprout gives the ins and outs of using hashtags.
Also, be sure to test and find your own best numbers.
- Don't use them all the time, especially when they are unlikely to extend the reach of the message
- Make sure they are relevant and not overused
- Twitter: Use 1 - 2 occasionally
- Facebook: Use 1 - 2 occasionally
- Instagram: Use as many as you like