A colossal amount of data is posted to social networks every day. Hashtags give networks a way to sort through and classify this data. When someone wants to search for a certain topic on Instagram or Twitter they use hashtags. Authors using hashtags increase their search visibility enabling them to connect with new readers and grow their following. You can use hashtags to classify your own posts and join in other hashtag topics.

Where to use hashtags? 

Facebook - No or at least sparingly. 

Research has shown that hashtags do not increase the visibility of Facebook posts, as users don’t search Facebook content via hashtags. In fact it might have the adverse effect of annoying your followers. 

Twitter - Yes. One to two per post.

On Twitter the current recommendation is one or two hashtags per post. This increases engagement by 21%. When you start using more hashtags your engagement rates immediate lower. 

Instagram - Yes. Put them in the comments.

You can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. There is no clear guide to exactly how many you should use. Some say 5, others say 11, some say use them all. Studies show that photos with 11 or more tags get the highest rates of engagement. If you are going to use over 5 it’s best to put them in the comments so they don’t look overly spammy and get in the way of your message.

YouTube - Yes. 

Use hashtags in your video titles and descriptions. Don’t use more than 15 hashtags or YouTube will disregard your tags. 

Pinterest - Yes but not too many. 

Pinterest encourages sparse use of hashtags to search content. While you can place hashtags in account descriptions, board titles, board descriptions or profile names these are not searchable. The only place you can click and search hashtags are in a Pin’s description. Unique hashtags (for searching only on a very specific topic) work best on Pinterest. Consider using your author name as a hashtag on your posts here. 

Google Plus  - Yes, automatic

Google Plus automatically formulates hashtags for you or you can add your own. 

Hashtags for Authors

#amwriting – the author favorite. 

#authorlife – works with most author posts, including behind-the-scenes type posts. 

#authorconfession – same as authorlife, also used for any difficulties along with #authorproblems. 

#nanowrimo – Popular for the Nanowrimo month of November.

#campnanowrimo - virtual novel writing month held in April and June. 

#writingcommunity  - broader writing than fiction, tends to be popular with poets. 

#amreading – Also popular with the bookstagram community.

Others include: #amediting, #amquerying, #writingprompt, #writingsprint, #writingtip, #writershelpingwriters, #whereiwrite, #books, #igauthor, #authorsofinstagram, #authorsofig. 

Specific hashtags according to your genre. These are fantastic for reaching your target audience and other authors in your genre, e.g #yalit, #amwritingromance, #kindleromance, #amwritingscifi #scifi. 

And of course my favourite hashtag #wildmindcreative