I’ve never been one to use hashtags much unless I sarcastically send a funny one to my wife or friends. I never quite took the time to understand what they were for and I was used to blocking people or unfollowing people who over used them. But as I’ve matured in my social media usage, I realize that hashtags have a time and place. To understand how to use hashtags, we need to understand what a hashtag is. So let’s answer the age old question – What is a Hashtag?!?


noun: hashtag; plural noun: hashtags
(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

“spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”

A hashtag is a great way to connect people with a movement, event, set of pictures, etc. It’s also a great way to get your self blocked if you over use them in extravagant ways. I was at a networking event recently and saw a great practical use of hashtags. There was a panel of successful business owners for a Q&A session, we were able to tweet in our question using a certain hashtag to get our questions answered directly. THIS was a great example of how to effectively use a hashtag. The same day, I saw a duck face selfie that had 1,184 hashtags (roughly) stating verbs like #bored, #selfie, #idontknow, #justme. THIS was a great example of how to effectively NOT use hashtags.

Here are some useful and useless ways to use hashtags:

Useful Ways:

  • Promote a set of pictures
  • Fundraising
  • Spreading useful information that adds value to your audience
  • Connecting numerous people at an event
  • Direct online conversation and traffic
  • Share a special event
  • Build a presence for a person, place or organization
  • Showcasing adorable baby pictures

Useless Ways:

  • Any tags accompanying a selfie (just stop doing selfies)
  • Numerous tags after an already long winded post that nobody will read
  • Any tag that accompanies whining or complaining
  • Tags describing the picture of your food which actually doesn’t look that great…
  • Uselessly blurting out tags because you feel you need to outdo your last unread post
  • This list could go on for a while, you get the point

Remember, your social media profiles are an extension of you. In this digital age, more people will see your social profiles than see you face to face. So it’s very important to take care of your image, your personal “brand,” your online identity. You may ask, “Josh, how have you gained so much wisdom in this area?” Well young grasshopper, I’ve thought seriously about deleting my profiles and starting over after looking back at old posts of letting people know my every actions, activities or every thought and feeling that I blurted out when nobody really cared. I have learned the hard way by abusing my social media presence myself. I don’t think humanity was ready for Facebook or social media for that matter. But that’s alright, it’s not too late to turn things around and use them for good.

This is especially CRUCIAL if you’re a business. If you’re bombarding people with messages they don’t care about, you’ll loose “likes” or “followers” like Jared lost weight eating subway. Slowly but surely.

Try this:

  • Tweet or Post information that is useful for your followers.
  • Post articles that are interesting and add value to your audience.
  • Post community involvement and connect your circles to inspirational causes.

Not only will they learn and gain value through this, but you will too. It’s a win, win.

So – delete some old posts, clean up your online image, loose the fluff and use your hashtags for the good of business, the world and humanity!