I was just thinking this morning, that we have been mentioning hashtags quite a lot on the podcast and maybe it would help some listeners if we just stopped for a second to explain what they actually are!
So what are hashtags?
On Twitter and Instagram the hash symbol or #, turns any word or phrase into a searchable link. Hashtags are a really powerful and useful way to connect with new people, build digital communities and grow your following.
For example, when I host Local is Lovely Workshops, I ask everyone to please put the hashtag #localislovelyworkshop in their Instagram posts. This way we can all keep track of who is posting what from the workshop. It’s so great seeing the beautiful images that come out on this hashtag and check back on them weeks after the workshops.
One great example of how powerful hashtags can be is Twitter’s #agchatoz – a digital, online community that is created and sustained entirely around a hashtag. Every week a new topic is suggested for debate and anyone can post questions, answers or thoughts.
The word hashtag has become so commonly used these days, it’s popping up in conversation left right and centre – hashtag you should totally watch this clip with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. Hashtag hilarious.
There are three main reasons you’d use a hashtag
- To keep in touch with a group you are part of and keep track of what everyone else is posting for example, the #localislovelyworkshop hashtag,
- To build your audience. So for example, if you posted the above picture of donuts in the making, you might like to add a few hashtags about baking, donuts and even tag someone like Food 52. One of the biggest food websites in the world, these guys use hashtags really well, introducing a new theme every week that people can get involved in and inviting readers to put their hashtag on food posts which could then be re-posted or included in weekly round ups of photos they loved best. Have a read of this article to see more about how they use hashtags.
- To get someone’s attention, for example if you wanted to pop up on the radar of say, Country Style magazine’s editor, you might start adding the hashtag #countrystyleloves to your posts. The editorial team do check this hashtag regularly and sometimes re-post photos they especially like and think might appeal to their followers.
- To follow along with an event or conference. If you are attending an event or conference, check what their hashtag is then add it to your posts and put it into your search bar to see what everyone else is saying and how they are interpreting the event.
So how do you actually use them?
- Just add the # sign before a word or phrase no spaces or punctuation.
- Don’t use too many! Up to three within the post is ideal. With Instagram, I generally add my hashtags in a separate comment so it doesn’t clog up the caption, in this case, you can use as many as you want!
- If using hashtags to build your audience, the best way to go is make a list of the people whose work you love and whose content resonates best with you and the community you are building. Then just spend a bit of time looking at the hashtags they use, take notes and add them to your hashtag stash as appropriate. I usually keep my hashtags pasted in the ‘notes’ app of my phone then can just grab them when and were needed.
Can you create your own hashtag?
Yes of course, all you need to do is put the # sign in front of what you want to say, share. BUT you just have to be a bit smart about it #itcangetreallyconfusingandhardtoreadifyourhashtagsaretoolong. But, say if you grow avocados under the property name Green Hill Avocados, you might want create and use the hashtag #greenhillavocados on all of your posts. This will help people to find your product but almost more importantly, if you encourage your customers to add this hashtag to photos they post of and about your product, it can really help to spread the word.
Some of my favourite Instagram hashtags are;
To organise photos and boost audience:
#feedfeed #makeitdelicious #vscofood #pgminseason #holidaze #verilymoment #foragedflorals #nothingisordinary #vscofood #livethelittlethings #fouriadorefriday #inthekitchen #fromwhereistand #fellowmag #flashesofdelight #seekthesimplicity #countrystyleloves #verilymoment #seasonaleating #makeitdelicious #gatheringslikethese #gatheredstyle #nothingisordinary #lifeandthyme #mycommontable #wattleseedcollective #onthetable #morningslikethese #thatsdarling #farmkitchen and of course #myopenkitchen!
To follow along with groups, ideas that I’m interested in
#rurallove #felfies #mydayinag #f52grams #farmgatestall #paddocktoplate
We’d love to know what hashtags you are loving, please leave some suggestions in the comment section below!