How To Use Hashtags To Promote Yourself On Social Media

Hashtags can be your best friends or worst enemies on social media websites. You may attract or repel targeted visitors depending on your understanding of how you use hashtags.

Don’t overdo it.

Treat hashtags as if you were cooking fish. Overcooking fish creates a poor-tasting, dried-out dish and undercooking fish creates a raw dish which will likely make you violently ill.

Overusing hashtags repels targeted visitors, creating a poor-tasting, worn-out social media stream and under using hashtags simply makes your social media stream and blog quite ill since you’re rarely if ever attract targeted visitors who would readily read your blog and buy your product or service.

Don’t overdo it. Use hashtags intelligently to draw in targeted readers through social media websites.

How To Use HashtagsPhoto Credit: Ken Varnum, Flickr

Why would you use hashtags?

Using hashtags are great for:

  • Attracting targeted readers to your blog
  • Boosting your blogging income
  • Drawing in excited fans
  • Leveraging each social media updates (to reach the maximum amount of interested folks with a simple keyword or two)

Let’s dive into the tips shall we?

1. Don’t Use too Many Hashtag Keywords

Don’t connect too many words together in a single hashtag. An example would be: #socialmediatwitterusage

Although the result sounds cute it takes up too many digits and distracts your audience. Few people on earth if any run a hashtag search for: #socialmediatwitterusage.

Keep hashtag phrases short and sweet!

2. Stay on Topic

If you’re a “blogging tips” niche blogger you may use a hashtag like “#bloggingtips” to draw interested readers to your twitter, Facebook and Google Plus Accounts. Think in terms of relevance.

Each social media update should be carefully crafted. Think about your blog and brand’s target audience. Create each hashtag to reach that audience.

Persistently use relevant hashtags to program your followers and friends on social sites. Give them content and hashtags which they’d expect to see to grow targeted followings on each network.

Targeted followings help you grow your audience and business quickly because you’ll attract willing customers using relevant hashtags persistently.

3. Easy Does It on Frequency

Effective social media flows like a natural conversation. If you use the hashtag #bloggingtips in all social media updates you lose the natural flow of conversation and an increasing number of once interested followers and friends will stop following you.

If you post 20 times to twitter daily use hashtags in 5 to 10 updates. Anything more and you risk annoying your following because social media is about engaging with users in a natural, free-flowing manner.  We know you want to target your following but we want you to speak like a human being once in a while too.

4. Easy Does it on Number

If you came across a single social media update on Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook which used the hashtags #onlinebusiness #internetbusiness #bloggingbusiness #workathome #makemoneyonline #makemoneyblogging, would you feel compelled to click through?

The social user is attempting to target a wide audience and in most users’ eyes this is outright social media spam, because it looks quite ugly and it’s going way overboard to reach an untargeted audience.

As a few rules of thumb:

  • Use 2 separate hashtags maximum for a single update
  • Keep hashtags short and sweet (most people remember short and punchy verses long and drawn out)
  • Using 1 or 2 hashtags forces you to get clear on your audience, helping you better target your ideal reader

Hashtags can draw in users on sites like Vine, Kickstarter, Instagram and Youtube too.

Use these powerful targeting tools in moderation to grow a hungry blogging audience who’ll be highly interested in your product or service.

Your Turn:

If you would like more in-depth information and coaching to learn how to blog successfully then sign up for our 12 module coaching program.

Do you use hashtags frequently?

How do you employ hashtags to target your blogging audience?

I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.




Written by

Catherine Holt is the founder of Blogging Tips 101. She has been an internet marketer since 2012. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Pinterest.

23 Responses to “How To Use Hashtags To Promote Yourself On Social Media”

written by Mandie Sanders On 14 October 2014 Reply

Great tips, Catherine!

A lot of people seem to be confused by the use of hashtags. Personally, I use them sparingly when they’re relevant. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than seeing a Tweet so stuffed full of hashtags I can’t even read it.

You also want to be careful of over-used hashtags. For example, as a travel blogger I almost never use #travel, because it’s too generic. Instead I’d use #ttot (travel talk on Twitter) or #girlstravel.

Do you have a favorite hashtag tool? I used Rite Tag until my free trial ran out for the “use from any website” feature. I’ve heard that Hashtracking is a good one, but I don’t have much experience myself.

Thanks for the tips! :)


written by Jaime Buckley On 15 October 2014 Reply

Forget confused…how about completely ignorant of?

Hashtags are 105% alien to me and I’m not sure how to go about them, ladies. I try to mimic some of you, and throw a few in a tweet or on G+, but honestly don’t know what I’m doing.

My first huge question on this article, Catherine (brilliant, BTW) was when you said, “If you’re a “blogging tips” niche blogger you may use a hashtag like “#bloggingtips” to draw interested readers to your twitter, Facebook and Google Plus Accounts. Think in terms of relevance. ”

My question is, Do I base a hashtag on an article/content, or on the overall theme/brand/focus of my site…which would be selling epic fantasy books & games? I’m confused.

Do you have another article that explains hashtags more…? You have my interest Christine, but I feel like I just plopped into the deep end of the pool and I left my bloody floaties on my towel!

written by Catherine Holt On 15 October 2014 Reply

Welcome to the blog Jaime, thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comment!

I don’t have any other hashtag posts on here (yet), but it sounds like it could be useful doing some for specific social media platforms. You have given me ideas for future blog posts :-)

You want to make sure that your hashtag is relevant to your article. That way you will be driving specific readership related to the information you have to share. So for example, two hashtags I might pick for this artcile could be #Hashtags and #SocialMedia. If the article is about driving traffic to your Pinterest profile, you might like to choose #Traffic or #IncreaseTraffic and #Pinterest. Keep on topic and mix up the hashtags.

Also then look at what is working for you, and what people are connecting to. Hope that helps a bit more??

written by Jaime Buckley On 15 October 2014 Reply

It does, thanks. =)
Second question is where I get REALLY confused. Do you use hashtags IN the tweet or message, or out side it?

I see both done frequently. For example:

Wanted Hero is packed with epic fantasy stories…. #epicfantasy #stories


Wanted Hero is packed with #epicfantasy #stories…

Which is the proper way–where I won’t offend readers?
IS there a proper way??

I see some make their post, riddled with as many hashtags as they cab fit in after and it annoys the crud out of me personally.

written by Catherine Holt On 17 October 2014

Love your questions Jaime!

To be honest I don’t think there is a “proper way” here. As you say, bloggers do both, and both can have their advantages and disadvantages. I think it’s really up to blogger preference and what you feel most comfortable with. Having the hastags mid sentence can interfere with reading, but it saves duplicating (and twitter characters!). You may like to try a bit of both and see which you like the best?

written by Deborah A. Ten Brink On 14 October 2014 Reply

Hello Catherine:

This is my first time to your blog. You have a lot of great information here! I really like this post about hashtags. When should you use them? How many do you use? When are hashtags beneficial and when are they a turn off? I’m just getting back into blogging and I’m noticing just how much more popular hashtags are today versus just a few years ago.

Just like any other type of sharing online, hashtags can be overdone as you say. What a neat idea to make the analogy of cooking fish to hashtags. ;)

What I liked the most about your post was that you point out that by being judicious with our use of hashtags, it makes us really focus (become better marketers) and narrow down our target market. This will ultimately make our shares more useful to the right people.

Thank you for sharing Catherine. I will be back to read more!


written by Catherine Holt On 14 October 2014 Reply

Welcome to the blog Deborah :-)

Hashtags can be great, but they can also be your worst enemy so learning how to use them wisely is a great idea. It can be trial and error and working out what works best for you and your readers. It will also vary depending on the platform that you are engaging on. But this is where the fun is, trying new things and seeing what works.

I appreciate you stopping by, and hope to see you here again soon :-)

written by Brittany Bullen On 14 October 2014 Reply


The tricky thing about hashtags is that different things are considered optimal for different platforms. That said, just because some articles say something is “optimal” doesn’t mean your followers will enjoy it! As a rule of thumb, I generally just read my status update and see if I annoy myself. :)

Great post!

written by Catherine Holt On 14 October 2014 Reply

Hey Brittany. Yes, you do need to use hashtags differently with different platforms. It’s a case of speaking to your followers and you wont necessarily have the same followers on each social scene. I guess that is what makes it fun ….. and challenging :-)

written by Mi Muba On 15 October 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine

You are spot-on hashtag is a boon if you use it rightly and could be a bane if you overuse it.

Wonderful way of relating it with fish; its overuse fades out its benefits and may prove counterproductive.

Staying on topic is ethically must; it is like duping your visitors if you put a hashtag irrelevant to your topic.

I observed its usage does not bring results at once. Yes with its usage consistently one can get huge traffic to his blog.

Thanks a lot for sharing this magnetic post that does not need many hashtags to go viral. :-)

written by Catherine Holt On 15 October 2014 Reply

Your right Mi, there is no point in putting a hashtag that is off topic. For a start not only will it confuse your readers, but it will also annoy them. If they are drawn to you by the hashtag and then receive something completely off topic, then they are likely to avoid you in the future. You don’t want to annoy your readers and followers!

I appreciate your insights here Mi, have an awesome week!

written by Don Purdum On 15 October 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

I really found your article to be helpful. I’ve been around social media since the beginning but I never took the time until recently to get my head around hashtags.

I sure I’ve picked up new followers on Twitter as a result just due to the timing of new followers to when I made the post. But, that’s an assumption.

I have learned where they are really helpful with twitter chats and I’m getting more involved in engaging on some of them as well.

It’s all really very interesting.

Thank you so much for sharing and educating me on this subject!!!

~ Don Purdum

written by Catherine Holt On 15 October 2014 Reply

Hashtags can be one of those things that bloggers either love or hate Don. They can also take a bit of time to get your head around, so it is worth just playing with them and seeing what results you receive.

Hashtags can be particularly useful on Twitter and for Twitter chats….hm…maybe another blog post topic!!!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us :-)

written by Nisha Pandey On 16 October 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

Wonderful topic covered. I already started using hashtags to all my social networks. But, I was little confused too that am I using it in a right way or not?

You have explained in very simple, clear and in right manner which cleared my all doubt here about using hashtags.

I agree that uses of hashtags can really increase our click through rate as well as traffic.

Thanks for sharing this useful topic. Have a good day!

written by Catherine Holt On 17 October 2014 Reply

Hashtags can be a bit mind boggling can’t they Nisha, but the sooner you start using them the more comfortable you will become. In terms of how to use them, people all have their different styles (which also doesn’t make it easy to know what to do), so it can be a case of trial and error.

If you keep these basics in mind, it will help you get started and then you can see what works for you, your site and your readers from there :-)

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comment :-)

written by Adrienne On 16 October 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

I’m still so bad in this area but it’s not from overuse of them, it’s from barely using them at all.

From my perspective, because I don’t use them myself to search for information I just forget to include them. The guy that created the social sharing plugin that I use recently included this feature so that when people share my posts, I can already have hashtags included. So I’m getting better at including them but I probably could still do better with being a lot more targeted.

I seriously don’t know why I feel so dumb when it comes to this but your tips have really been very helpful so thank you for putting this post together. I know it’s for people like me, who need to just do better in this area. LOL!!!

Great share and I’ll spread the word around too. There are more of me out there ya know! ;-)

Have a great week.


written by Catherine Holt On 17 October 2014 Reply

Lol Adrienne, like you say you are not alone. I think hashtags are pretty much a minefield for most people, which is why you see them being used 101 ways!!

There are lots of ways that you can benefit from them, but if your starting out it’s best to stick to the basics that will give good results (And besides, that is what we are all about here!). If you havnt been using them to date, certainly don’t go overboard, subtly is the key :-)

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, and good luck with using hashtags from now on!!

written by Dennis On 18 October 2014 Reply

Aw…..I like using my long hashtags like #YouReallySuckDennis #WillDoSEOForPancakesAndCoffee

Kidding aside, I still rarely use them so I need to double up on my efforts on that end. Your url can actually be a good brand hashtag and it stays relevant at the same time so I envy you :D

Queueing this to buffer.

Enjoy the weekend!

written by Catherine Holt On 19 October 2014 Reply

Ha ha Dennis, they would be interesting hashtags!!!

You are not alone in rarely using them. It seems to be a bit of a theme between either overusing them or rarely using them. Start having a play with them and see what results you get. The more you use them the more comfortable it will become.

Thanks for leaving your feedback here :-)

written by Mary Austin On 18 October 2014 Reply

I’m with Adrienne, I never use hashtags so I never think to include them in my posts or tweets. And like Nisha, I wouldn’t know if I was using them correctly. So maybe a few more posts about the use of hashtags would be a good thing.

It seems like a simple way to connect people to my content. Are you aware of any statistics showing how many people use hashtags to find relevant content? I haven’t seen anything and it would be good to know before I start “hashing” things up.

Thanks for such good information. This was my first time here. I see you use CommentLuv so I will be back.

written by Catherine Holt On 19 October 2014 Reply

Welcome Mary, great to see you here.

Lol, I like that term….”hashing things up”. I don’t know what statistics are like with people using hashtags, but it would certainly be interesting to look into. Hm…maybe a future post after all :-)

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us here :-)

written by Edward Beaman On 19 October 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a blog post about Twitter hashtags before. Glad I found yours as it’s an interesting read.

A single hashtag can be found in all of my tweets but it’s usually an afterthought at the end. I tend to go by what I think I’d be searching for if I was trying to find the topic I’m tweeting about.

You’re right about it being too much when people stuff their tweets with hashtags. It comes off as too automated and industrial, rather than authentic. Social media is so much about the human connection after all, which so many people seem to forget.

Hashtag stuffing is kind of like the Tourette syndrome of Twitter.

I really should do some more research on the best hashtags for my niche. You’ve inspired me Catherine, thank you!


written by Catherine Holt On 19 October 2014 Reply

Hi Edward and welcome :-)

I’m glad you found this post useful and I was able to provide you with something new.

I think using the hashtag as you are is purposeful. If you are trying to put yourself in others shoes you are already thinking along the right route. Hastags are simply a way of searching for information, so it has to be meaningful to the content. If you are able to direct that to the topic of the post then it sounds like you are using them well!

Glad I have been able to bring a little inspiration to your day.

Thanks for commenting here, I appreciate it :-)

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