Post / Vickie Fee

Do hashtags give you a #pounding headache?

As a new author, I took to Facebook like a book nerd (which I am) in a library, but I originally resisted Twitter. It looked like a lot of gibberish to me with the abbreviated messages (remember when they could only be 140 characters instead of 280?). And all those symbols mixed in that I grew up calling pound signs looked ridiculous. My husband insisted that I get a Twitter account, if for no other reason than to register my name before someone else did. And he further nagged me saying, “You don’t write books on parchment, Vickie. You have to have a Twitter account.” I finally succumbed and I’ve even grown to enjoy Twitter as a different format from Facebook — and one that reaches a different audience. You can share the same content to different social media platforms, or you can mix it up. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean more work.

If any of you are still unsure about Twitter, I’ll tell you now what I didn’t know then: Hashtags are used to categorize tweets to help you find similar content, and to help people interested in your topic find you.

Some hashtags I frequently use when sharing Chicks on the Case tweets are #author, #NewReleases, #writerslife, #amwriting, #amreading, #bookgiveaway and #cozymystery. People in the Twittersphere who are drawn to these hashtags are our peeps! I also search these hashtags periodically to see what’s going on in our little corner of the world. If you use nonsense hashtags it will make it harder for people to find you — like tossing your tweets into the $5 DVD bin at Walmart.

According to a report on Social Media Today, using too many hashtags in a tweet negatively affects your engagement. For optimal engagement keep it to a couple of hashtags on Twitter. (Instagram is a different beast. Apparently you can use up to thirty hashtags on Instagram – nine is thought to foster optimal engagement.)

Don’t add a hashtag that has nothing to do with your post or randomly use a recently popular hashtag. For instance, don’t put a #Maythe4thbewithyou hashtag on your May 7th Star Wars related tweet. It will just look weird. (And you can use a service like Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead of time, so you don’t miss something timely or important, like your Star Wars tweet on May 4th.)

Despite what some people say, you can use hashtags on Facebook, and you can certainly use them in a search. But because of Facebook’s peculiar and ever-changing algorithms, the real effect of hashtags in posts is unknown. What shows up in your Facebook feed still seems to be primarily determined by your likes and comments.

I know what I said about avoiding nonsense tags, and traditional wisdom says one shouldn’t add a hashtag just to amuse oneself. But it probably comes as no surprise that I disregard this caveat. And I’ve even been rewarded at times when I serendipitously used a hashtag I thought I’d just made up only to discover it’s already a thing. When this happens it makes me feel connected in a way to all the other #Twitternerds (this is an example of serendipity!) out there. So far, I’m still a refugee from Instagram. I’m not sure I have the energy for that many #hashtags.

What about you? Any social media or tech-related stuff that drives you nuts? Is there a social media platform you avoid or just don’t enjoy? Share in the comments — and feel free to use hashtags.

36 thoughts on “Do hashtags give you a #pounding headache?

  1. Parchment!!?? Love it, lol! I think of Twitter as a party I can duck in and out of, 24/7. I go straight to my feed and don’t pay much attention to hashtags (I know, #Bad). I also head to Twitter for insta news–and to follow the deliciously shady comments and memes on snark-worthy shows like The Bachelorette. Even Jill Biden is on there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used to be on Twitter – well, I guess I still am, technically, since I have an account. But my feed just got so angry and mean, I had to step away. I do like Instagram because I like looking at pretty pictures.

    I took a marketing class recently with Dana Kaye and she said at least 7 hashtags on Instagram, but agree with you that Facebook (while it supports hashtags) makes them kind of useless with all their weird algorithms.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I get what you’re saying, Liz. I employ the same strategy for staying sane on Twitter that I do on Facebook. If I see something that looks like it will spike my blood pressure, I just keep strolling until I see a picture of kittens or books! Honestly, I check notifications a lot more often than my feed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Marla, I’m not sure about Instagram. Hubs is nudging me to get an account. (On the one hand he complains I spend too much time on social media and on the other he pushes me into it. Weird.) But, yeah, I’d definitely be making up crazy stuff to come up with thirty hashtags!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m one of those people who has a Twitter account because I have to – John is right! – but I don’t love the site and don’t really feel like I get much mileage out of it. I get the same one or two friends kindly commenting or sharing. I’m on Instagram too, but since you have to post from your phone, I don’t post that often.The problem is that I usually don’t have a pic on my phone of what I want to post, so it gets complicated. If I do have a pic, it usually has little to do with my writing, so it’s fun but not a marketing tool.

    I’ll you one thing though, I seem to get more engagement there. Although that 7 hashtags – I was on the same webinar with Dana Kaye as Liz – can be a pain. I can’t think of that many, although I sometimes use a list someone gave me. I still find Facebook the easiest to read and where I get the most engagement. I feel like I’m an old fart saying that, but it’s true.

    I’m petrified of what will happen when I have to start promoting my second series with my second name. Double the SM accounts to cover that name. Hey, just noticed that the initials for social media are the same as the ones for sado-masochist!

    Liked by 4 people

    • El, I didn’t know you had an Instagram account — I may have to sign up now just to see what you’re up to! (I may be the only Chick not on Instagram and not even know it!)
      I get what you’re saying about the second series on social media — I’ve been wondering about that. I decided (maybe foolishly) not to have a Vickie Fee Author Facebook profile and page. So, I have a Liv & Di in Dixie series page instead of an author page. So now that I have a new series coming out, what do I do now? Do I make a new series page for every series from now on and expect people to “like” all of them? If any authors or social media experts out there have experience or advice on this, I’d love to hear from you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m on Twitter, where I use socialoomph.com to program most of my tweets. I think it’s tricky to anticipate “hot” hashtags in advance: Like, are they gonna spell it #MayThe4thBeWithYou, or #MayTheFourthBeWithYou ? And yeah, making up your own private hashtag is FUN, even if it doesn’t unlock the doors to a secret community.

    I found this blog from Twitter, so that worked well 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yay! It makes me happy to know you (maybe others) discovered Chicks through Twitter! I looked it up for this post and actually the most popular version from previous years seemed to be #Maythe4thbewith — which seems incomplete to me! And I’ll have to check out socialoomph, which I haven’t heard of. Thanks! (LOL, Ellen referred to me as a social media “maven” on Twitter, which I am SO not — but I like the sound of it!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t foresee a time when I drink the #TwitterKool-Aid. Clearly it #works for #manypeople, but it holds #zeroappeal for me. I #lovesmemyfacebook, though. I’ve thought about hiring someone to tweet for me, but I think that would annoy me, too. #theonlyhashtagsiuseareironicandirritatingi’msure

    Liked by 3 people

      • LOL! Romantically, I LOVE the idea of writing my books out long-hand. But, my horrible handwriting makes that impossible. I still miss rotary phones AND typewriters, though. Becky Clark is my favorite #nonTwitternerd!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I was force-fed the Kool-Aid, Becky! Although I have developed a taste for Twitter, I still feel more comfortable on Facebook. And I think FB is where more readers, especially cozy and traditional mystery readers hang out — or at least that’s where I connect with more readers. 🙂

      Like

      • That’s what I think, too. If I had to guess (and, really, that’s all I do), I’d say most of my readers are on facebook. Even though we’re young at heart —barf—I think the age at fb skews toward more vintage individuals, like me. And with limited time, I’d prefer to cultivate my BookBub, Goodreads, and Amazon followers in addition to my newsletter subscribers. And I’m so very proud to be your favorite #nontwitternerd!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am #oldschool as well. I do twitter occasionally. Hashtag? #fugeddaboutit. I am a Facebook person in my real life, not so much my #alterego. But since my blog was #hacked, and #nogoodamymore, I might try to so Facebook more there?
        And I would love a typewriter! I do have a typewriter/keyboard I use with my laptop. No carriage return sound, but I love the clicking noise

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hestia, the sound of the bell, followed by the slap to the carriage return is one of the best sounds in the world! #typewriternerd!!

        Like

  7. Sounds like I should be in Instagram for the hashtags. I know I use too many on Twitter but it is hard to cover everything when there are so many relevant hashtags.

    I’m with Ellen. I have an Instagram account but haven’t been on in ages because I don’t have the relevant pics on my phone. If I could post from my computer like I do in Pinterest, that would be great and I’d use it all the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Go for #allthehashtags, Mark! And I forgot all about Pinterest! I have an account, but rarely update it. Might be a good idea to add boards for the new series, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I admit to being a Luddite. I love Facebook because it uses words and picture in a way I can relate to (and I think most of our readers are more on FB than on other social sites). But I do have a Twitter and Instagram account–simply because I’ve been told that I must–but rarely even look at them. #LongLiveLuddites

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have an account, but don’t try to reach me there! I don’t know WHEN I last looked at it. YES, hashtags give a headache, but I use them on FB because…I guess because someone said I should? It would be fun to write on parchment, IMHO.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Despite the constant irritations Facebook throws at us, it’s still the most natural fit for me, as well. Leslie, I don’t think you qualify for the Luddite society if you have a Twitter AND an Instagram account, lol! I’m starting to have Instagram FOMO.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the tips on hashtags, Vicki. I’ve made note of the ones you use. I know just the basics of twitter and didn’t have a clue how or why to incorporate hashtags. I’ll have to get a copy of Twitter for Dummies or some such book. Leslie, I’m definitely a Luddite. I’m still clinging to cursive writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Grace! Social media is one of those things I think you have to just learn as you go — and then they change it! And keep on writing in cursive — we have to preserve it for future generations!

      Like

  12. I am Twitterphobic. For some reason, I find it so intimidating! This is such great advice. Maybe it’ll give me more confidence to tweet, retweet and subtweet (is that something one does? I’m so confused!). Thanks for the fab tips, Vickie!!

    OH, and the whole hashtag/pound sign/number sign thing reminds me of when we were shopping for supplies at the beginning of the school year. My daughter said she needed hashtag 2 pencils. Hee hee!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, I love the hashtag 2 pencils! But what else would she think? Twitter’s been around her whole life. Only geezers like me call those tic-tac-toe boards pound signs! (I still put three of them at the end of my manuscripts!)

      Like

  13. I really do like Twitter but the interaction there isn’t like it is on FB. Confession: I made an Instagram account and then deleted it…I found it so confusing, plus I really like to reshare other people’s things, which it doesn’t seem set up to do, so I ran away. That was probably a mistake, eh?

    Also, I think hashtags have made a big dent in the way we communicate…so often people use them to finish jokes…or to be their own jokes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cynthia, it’s not a mistake to let go of a social media platform that’s not a good fit for you. Most of us are trying to juggle so many things! You can always go back to it if you choose — no bridges have been burned!
    #chickslovehashtags #weamuseourselves

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s