The Writer’s Journey is a column dedicated to different styles of writing and the exploration of one writer’s path to publication.

Written by Samantha House

A simple yet powerful way to get your content seen on social media is by using hashtags. If used correctly this innocent looking symbol (#) can enable your content to reach audiences far and wide. What do I mean when I say correctly? This article will explain exactly that. Today we’ll look at Instagram hashtags, and next time I’ll cover Twitter and Facebook.

How Hashtags Work

Hashtags are a way of identifying your content and reaching a specific audience, and thankfully, this concept is the same across all social media platforms.

Let’s pretend that you’ve written a poem about wintertime and feeling cold, and you wrote it specifically for Her Heart Poetry on Instagram. In either the caption or comments for your post, you would use the hashtag, #herheartpoetry, to ensure that the poem goes into their list of contributing artists. Now anyone interested in Her Heart Poetry can look up that poem on Instagram using the ‘search tag’ function, and as long as your profile isn’t set to private, your post will appear. If it is set to private, though, your posts will not show no matter what hashtags you use.

Now let’s say you want target an audience looking for poetry on the winter season. Instead of #herheartpoetry, you could use the hashtags, #winter or #feelingcold. Notice in the last hashtag, that it’s two words written as one. A hashtag only works if they’re written in one, continuous word; if you insert a space between the words, only the word attached to the pound-sign will register, so you’d be left with #feeling which addresses an entirely different audience.

It’s the same rule with punctuation: the hashtag ends wherever punctuation occurs. Capitals, however, can be and are often used for clarification purposes when the hashtag is long. For example, #WishingItWasSummerRightNow would be hard to read without capital letters.

Hashtags have Rules

Instagram has hundreds of thousands of hashtags available, but if you’re looking for some to start your poetry account off on the right foot, try #poetsofinstagram, #poetsofig, #spilledink, #wordsmith, and #poetry. The more hashtags you use, the greater the potential you have for reaching a larger audience, but bear in mind, that Instagram has an algorithm designed to prevent spamming (unnecessary and/or inappropriate messages sent online either to a large group or to one person multiple times), which means you can’t copy and paste an identical set of hashtags every post.

Stephanie Gilbert wrote a great article on Instagram’s tagging rules here. She also explains how you can follow specific hashtags on Instagram. This is a feature only recently added, and while following tags is great, it also means that people may be less inclined to follow your account if you use the same tags on a regular basis. Once again, Stephanie covers this subject in her article where she also has pictures showing each of the features she is talking about.

Hashtags are also commonly used in competitions, challenges, and for the chance to have your work featured on other accounts. For example, @herheartforms  recently hosted a challenge for blackout poetry. One of the “rules” was to use #blackoutheart which made it easier for the Her Heart Forms team to keep track of people participating in the challenge. If you opened up Instagram right now and searched that hashtag, you would see the works of everyone who attempted the challenge and posted it to their page. Don’t just take my word for it, though: check it out! Some pretty awesome poems were written.

Her Heart Poetry’s Common Hashtags

If you want your content featured on a particular account, pay attention to the tags they utilize, and add them to your posts. These are the tags specific to Her Heart Poetry and its associated channels.

Her Heart Poetry: #herheartpoetry

Her Heart’s New: #herheartsnew #herheartsnext

Her Heart Spoken: #herheartspoken #herheartspeaks

Her Heart On Craft: #herheartoncraft

Her Heart’s Reach: #herheartsreach

Heart Words: #heartwrds

Two Hearts Beat Stronger: #twoheartsbeat #twoheartsbeatstronger

Her Heart Forms: #herheartforms

Several of these channels also have hashtags that changes depending on the active challenge. Follow them to make sure you never miss out on a chance to be featured!

Hashtags take a little getting used to, but they’re a great way to reach a much larger audience, and when used correctly, they can see your Instagram account grow with genuine admirers of your work. If you ever have any questions about how to use hashtags properly, you’re welcome to leave a comment or contact me via Instagram. The entire Her Heart Poetry team is always happy to lend assistance, as well, so what are you waiting for? Get tagging!

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