It might just be me. But, I don’t think it is. Does anyone else find hashtag overuse really annoying? In my first session of social media mentoring, way back in 2012, my then-mentor, said to use hashtags sparingly on Twitter as they can detract from the true meaning of your tweet. At the time, Twitter was the only channel that was using hashtags. Now that I am a social media mentor myself, this is something I pass on to my own clients. The ‘rule’ now applies to more than just Twitter though.

I find content really hard to understand if every 2-3rd #word uses #hashtags to get the #message across to the #reader. This trend started to appear in LinkedIn posts about 3 months ago and I find it really annoying! I might use 2 or 3 hashtags at the end of my post to make sure that it reaches the right audience but they are usually industry-related. Such as #socialmedia #marketing #charity. If you are connecting to the right people, you shouldn’t have to bombard the post with hashtags. Your message should be in the text for your reader to understand. I think hashtags insinuate meaning and you force your reader to read between the lines of what you are trying to say. Just say it!

I don’t use hashtags on Facebook. It’s my own personal choice. I have never searched for anything on Facebook using a hashtag so why would I anticipate that others do? I might use one as a joke but not as a point of reference i.e. #annoying #dreaming. Instagram is hashtag crazy, understandably so. Sometimes, reading the made-up phrases is just as entertaining as the photo content. I read online this week that 30 hashtags on Instagram should be the limit. Personally, I would say 20. Any more is just a waste of time and energy. Instagram hashtags give the photo meaning. It tells the audience what the purpose was, where, when, how, etc. For example, my charity brand dog Foggy is currently on the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth. They stopped off at Dubrovnik and spent the day at the beach. The photo was of 2 pairs of human legs with Foggy belly-up ‘sunbathing’. Without hashtags, Foggy’s followers wouldn’t have known what the background behind the photo. I used the following – #beach #Dubrovnik #Croatia #Cunard #QueenElizabeth #travel #MECFS #health #charity #fundraiser #sunshine. These hashtags meant that my photo would be seen by non-followers who were interested in travel, holidays, cruises, charity, health issues and M.E. I gained 27 followers from that post. It is definitely worth using hashtags on Instagram.

As for the other social media channels… for the sake of my sanity, don’t overuse your hashtags. Just…step away from the # button!