Hashtags are such a prominent part of the culture today that you cannot browse through your social media accounts without coming across a few of the much-abused pound sign. Almost everyone knows what they are. The hashtag became so popular that it was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2010. Yet, even though most people know what hashtags are, few know how to use them.

Hashtags are used to group similar content on social media. In this way, you can just search for the hashtag and find the set of posts related to it. This helps to find the post easily when you search for it. By clicking on the hashtag in a post, you can see all other posts that contain the same hashtag and see what others are talking about the same topic. Thus you can connect with other social media users based on a common theme. So far so good. But the problem is, most people think that using as many hashtags as possible is the sure shot method of letting people know what you feel about a certain topic and are a means of visual representation. However, that is not so.

Hashtags need to be specific and to the point. Just because you can hashtag something, doesn’t mean that you should. Saturating your sentences with hashtags is just plain annoying. For Eg: Read this post – #When#the#sun#goes#down. Are you kidding me? Who wants to know more about # the? Hashtags are meant to serve a purpose. Businesses invent hashtags to promote their products or services and for people to easily see them. Brand hashtags should represent your brand and what you stand for. Lays Potato chips used them for their “Do Us a Flavour” contest which encouraged people to suggest their flavour ideas. This promoted customer participation and engagement.

Using more hashtags dilutes your message and makes you look desperate. Instead, focus on being more specific. Hashtags make your content discoverable to the world. Make the best use of the pound sign by sharing the best content and creating a lasting impression. As you may have predicted, the hashtag is here to stay. You can use it as a key to success on social media or also annoy people. The choice is yours.