Question: What are “hashtags”, and how and where should I use them?



The term “hashtag” may sound a little advanced or mysterious, but it’s really just a simple way to categorize online content to make it easily searchable. Using hashtags involves attaching descriptive words or phrases to the content you’re sharing on social media or in your blog so that others looking for that type of content can find it.

Hashtags are simply a way to categorize online content so that it is searchable by potential readers.What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or phrase with the “pound sign” or number sign (#) in front.   

There are no spaces between the pound sign and word, and if you’re using multiple words or a phrase, there are no spaces between each word. Hashtags are not case sensitive and they should not include any punctuation or other special characters, but can include numbers. Here are some examples of popular hashtags in the publishing world:


Hashtags were first used on Twitter in 2007 as a way to group similar conversations. Today, hashtags are used across social media and blog platforms to group content, organize personal photos, check-in at events or locations, follow social movements, create brand awareness, find like-minded people, and more. When attached to a post, hashtags make the content searchable and they become clickable links that allow users to see a list of tagged content.

Where can authors use hashtags?

Hashtags can be used on most social media and blogging platforms but are more prevalent on certain platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Hashtags play a major role in content organization on these two platforms, so it’s important to use hashtags when posting content. Instagram even has popular publishing-related hashtags that are specific to the platform such as #authorsofinstagram, #bookstagram, and #writersofinstagram.

While Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn recognize and support hashtags, they are not used as frequently and don’t play as big of a role in how the platforms organize content. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any hashtags when posting on these platforms; just use them sparingly. Two or three relevant or popular hashtags per post is acceptable.

When adding content to your website or blog, platforms like WordPress and Wix will recognize and support hashtags that are attached to your posts. These hashtags can help drive traffic to your website or blog while also categorizing any content within your domain. Other blog platforms like Medium and Tumblr use standard “tags” without the pound sign in front of the word or phrase to categorize content.

Authors can use hashtags across many different social media and blogging platforms.
What is the most effective way for authors to use hashtags?

There is a right way and a wrong way to use hashtags. When used incorrectly or in abundance, you can turn potential readers away. Although Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags per post, for example, excessive “hashtagging” can be viewed as spam. Choosing the right hashtags in both number and relevance, however, can make your tweet or post attract the right kind of exposure.

Twitter and Instagram can be great resources for researching which hashtags will be most effective. When you start typing in your desired hashtag, the platforms’ search tools will display related or popular hashtags, which will be a great starting point. You can also follow other authors in your genre to see what hashtags they are using to attract readers and followers. In addition, there are websites like that allow you to search topics to see what hashtags are trending.  

According to Kindlepreneur, there are five main ways authors can utilize hashtags:

1.  Share about a Specific Genre: #scifi, #fantasy, #romance, #horror, #childrensbooks
2.  Connect with Readers: #amreading, #mustread, #bookish
3.  Connect with fellow Authors: #writetip, #writingcommunity, #NaNoWriMo, #indieauthors
4.  Share about the Writing Process: #amwriting, #amediting, #writerslife, #writingprompt
5.  Share about Special Deals: #bookgiveaway, #freebook, #bookpromo

Instagram allows authors to post up to 30 hashtags in each post.

Authors can access Kindlepreneur’s free Hashtag Generator Tool to get suggested hashtags based on the platform you are posting on and your goals for that post. It’s important to mix it up and test different hashtags to see what is most effective for you and your book. Typically, the most popular hashtags will make your content visible to many general users, while the more niche or specific hashtags will make your content visible to fewer, but more relevant users.

Here are some additional tips for using hashtags:

•  Keep your hashtag phrases short.

•  If you make up hashtags specific to your topic, theme, or branding, they must be relevant.

•  Don’t always post the exact same hashtags across different platforms – each may have hashtags that are popular on that platform or that are specific to that platform (like Instagram).

•  Some social media platforms have character limits on posts, which will affect the number of hashtags you’ll want to include since the hashtag characters count toward your overall limit. You can include additional hashtags in the comment section of a post if you wish.

•  Authors can also use hashtags for specific days of the week or for seasonal events such as #writerwednesday, #samplesunday, and #summerreads.

Adding relevant hashtags to your social media posts and website or blog content can be a very effective way to drive more traffic to your content and increase your online discoverability. Be sure to do some research first to see which hashtags make the most sense for your content and then use them wisely.

Photo credit: Urupong via Getty Images


  • Additional to the answers above.

    Hashtags are keywords or phrases that are preceded by the "#" symbol. They are commonly used on social media platforms, particularly Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, to categorize content and make it easier to discover by other users who are interested in a particular topic.

    For example, if you are posting about travel, you might include the hashtag #travel in your post. When other users search for that hashtag, they will see your post along with other posts that also include the same hashtag.

    Here are some tips for using hashtags effectively:

    1. Keep them relevant: Make sure your hashtags are relevant to the content you are sharing.

    2. Don't overdo it: Using too many hashtags can be overwhelming and make your post look spammy. Aim for 1-3 hashtags per post.

    3. Use popular hashtags: Including popular hashtags that are relevant to your content can help your post reach a wider audience.

    4. Create your own hashtags: If you have a specific brand or campaign, you can create your own unique hashtag to help promote it.

    5. Use them on the right platforms: While hashtags are commonly used on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, they may not be as effective on other platforms like LinkedIn.

    In summary, hashtags are a useful tool for categorizing and discovering content on social media. Use them strategically and appropriately to help your posts reach a wider audience.