The mystery of hash tags....revealed!

Through my experience working with business owners, one of their biggest fears is hash tags. Pound signs and search terms are not as scary as they look though. Come to think about it, I can’t recall ever being attacked by either!

The biggest thing to keep in mind is hash tags are search terms to use on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. While advertising my accessories, I would hash tag pieces with bucking horses on them as #broncs and #buckinghorses. When the Hammond case was a hot topic and folks were attacking our industry as #welfareranchers, I used hash tags to open conversations, explaining that leases were paid for the land used. Try to not think of them as labeling yourself or your content, but as ways for your intended audience to find you!

In November of 2016, I sustained a traumatic brain injury after coming off a colt and being kicked in the head. Through research, I found #tbisurvivor to be a widely used term to gather recovery stories in one place. At a time when I was lost and looking for inspiration, these stories gave that to me. As I began to heal and do more, I would share posts with this same hash tag. No, this wasn’t because I bought into some grandeur drama of the situation nor to tout myself as a victim. The use of this hash tag was to connect with others in the same boat. I now follow, and am followed by, a few other people who have lived these same things and went on to have physically and mentally active lives. Of course, there were people who didn’t understand hash tags that were snarky about this, as though I was putting labels on myself. Just one of those times in life you refrain from saying, “girl, your ignorance is showing! You might want to tuck that back in.”

Feel free to use different hash tags for different things. Just because you use it once, doesn’t mean you have a lifetime contract with it!

Use #cowboygirl when you help the neighbor move their pairs, even if you are a #weekendwarrior.

Use #fringefordays while drinking a beer on #somebeachsomewhere.

Use #bootygains to show us your progress after a great #legday.

 

Looking to find hash tags that will connect you with the audience you’re trying to meet? There is a search to help you with that! For example, let’s say you want to find tags related to #horses. If you search, the current, top listed, related tags are:

                #horse

                #horseriding

                #horsesofinstagram

                #horseshow

                #horselover

 

Select the magnifying glass on Instagram. Select “TAGS” second from the right. Type in a hashtag and see what are other tags most often used with it. Easy right?

Are you starting a new hashtag or using it as part of your humor? Post it first in your list of tags beneath your text! I often use a series of periods or other symbols to separate texts from hash tags. For some reason, Instagram doesn’t recognize line breaks, so you have to make them!

.

.

.

.

.

 

For some reason, this method will not always work and you will get:

And the rats tail came off. .

Which means the story ended.

 

Notice the two periods and no line break? Fix it by adding an additional period, seen below.

And the rats tail came off.

.

.

Which means the story ended.

 

Not sure how to edit your text? Select the three dots on the top right corner of your Instagram post and select “Edit.”

Personally, I don’t like to hashtag mid-sentence on a post. It is distracting, especially to those who are anti-hashtag.

Did you know you can create your own hashtags? You don’t need a license or permission from the universe or anything else. Just do it! What are good examples of situations that might use their own hashtag?

·         A collection of product photos added to by you and your customers.

·         A series of how-to’s or personal opinions on the same subject.

·         The adventures of a kid, family, or pet.

·         Any kind of movement you are starting.

So, in review, hashtags help us find new audiences, they are a filing system based on how others will find us, and they can even be a little fun. Please drop your questions, comments on what you loved, or what our next topic should be!

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Hash tag like you own it!