Too Many Hashtags Can Be a Bad Practice
The number sign (a.k.a the pound sign) has recently been recognized for something far greater than its original purpose. Since 2007 the number sign has been wearing the nametag "Hashtag" which was made popular by Twitter. Within the past few years other social media platforms have caught on and there has been very little regulation on usage. Some of the platforms that hashtags exist on are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+.
When used in front of a word, a hashtag categorizes the post. Essentially, it creates a hyperlink for that word. The best and worst part about this is that you can do this to any one word or words grouped together. Cool, right? This is a handy tool for collecting photos at events, joining hot conversations and, of course, marketing. People of all ages have caught on to using hashtags but there's an abundance of people out there who are committing a social media crime: OVER HASHTAGGING.
Over-hashtagging means you use too many hashtags in any single post. The common practice is that you use 2-3 short hashtags or 1 long hashtag in a tweet and everywhere else you should use no more than 3. This is just my opinion and a strong suggestion. On Instagram, if you want to use a copious amount of hashtags try to post them a few lines below your copy (we touch on this a bit later in the post).
Why is over-hashtagging bad?
- It distracts from the post/key message
- Too many hashtags can make your post look like spam
- It looks sloppy
- Uses up a lot of your characters (when you have a very precious character limit)
- Makes you look like an amateur social media poster (like you just don't understand the concept)
So, with Twitter you only have 140 characters so you want to be strategic when using hashtags. If you are planning on posting multiple times a day try alternating which hashtags you use in each tweet. You can use hashtags on Facebook but many on that platform don't use them. On Instagram, it is appropriate to over hashtag but only if you do it properly. A lot of posts on Instagram go viral with the appropriate hashtags. A lot of people use many (upwards of ten) hashtags with their post but they do it strategically. What some Instagrammers do is either put their hashtag collection a few spaces below their post copy OR they add their hashtags in a separate comment.
As soon as a follower sees too many hashtags, they lose interest. You don't want people to get lost in a sea of words with number signs (which most often don't form a coherent sentence) so be smart about your hashtagging. If you are worried that you may be quickly approaching a situation where it's hashtag overkill, it's fine to not use any at all. Remember to feel free to #getcreative and explore the wonderful #worldofhashtags.