Thursday, February 9, 2017

Popular Hashtags and How to Use Them Effectively

by Edie Melson
Hashtags can be a confusing concept
Hashtags can be a confusing concept, so today I’m sharing a list of popular hashtags and how to use them effectively.
First, lets back up and evaluate the reason we’re all working at building an online presence. We are looking to deepen existing relationships and build new ones. But building new ones can be difficult if the only people we interact with are those we already know, either online or in person.
We can get a little bit of exposure to new folks by our existing connections introducing us, but that’s a time consuming way to go about it.
What if there was a way for someone to search a given social media network by topic and find new, interesting people to interact with? That would be a great way to grow our connections.

THAT, in the simplest of terms, is the purpose of using hashtags.
When you compose a social media update that includes one or two hashtags that summarize the topic, you are giving folks a way to find you.
For example, I’m working on a new series of Steampunk novels. Because of that, targeting a specific type of reader—one who reads Steampunk. I find those readers within the larger group of people who read science fiction (ABA – secular) or speculative fiction (CBA – Christian).
Twitter started the Hashtag revolution
Here’s a sample tweet I might send out, targeted at those specific readers: 

Step-by-step instructions to help you turn a plain top hat into a #Steampunk masterpiece! Via @EdieMelson #Specfic
Let’s break down how I composed this update. I know that the Steampunk community loves to create costumes. So I’m giving them information they’d find useful and interesting.
  • I used #Steampunk so that anyone searching Twitter for others who are interested in this genre can find me.
  • I also included @EdieMelson, because on Twitter, that is a clickable link that takes them directly to my Twitter page.
  • Finally I used #specfic, because that’s the hashtag for speculative fiction to pull in readers who might find this interesting.
  • If I was targeting the general market reader, instead of #specfic, I would have used #scifi.

NOTE: Use # (hashtags) to denote a subject, and use @ (at sign) to denote a person or organization. With organizations, you’ll find some that hashtag their names and others use the @ sign.
Twitter isn’t the only social media network that has hashtags. You can use hashtags in the same manner on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. There may be other networks that also use them, but those are the main ones.
Hashtag Etiquette
Don't use more than 2 (occasionally 3) Hashtags per update
Try to never use more than three hashtags in any one tweet. If you can make it two that’s even better. Otherwise you end up looking like a used car sales man. If you’re trying to reach more groups, schedule multiple tweets, at different times, about the same subject and target your groups two at a time.
Always research your hashtag before you use it. Never assume it’s the correct one. For example, I was targeting military families with tweets about my devotional for military families and I thought #military would be the logical hashtag. No, turns out that hashtag is frequently used by those trying to date someone in the military. Not really the demographic I was trying to reach. The hashtag I wanted was #militaryfamily and #deployment. The best place to research hashtags is also the easiest, just type it into Google or the search engine of your choice.
Now, I’m going to give you an updated list of popular hashtags. 

This list is extensive, but by no means exhaustive
For readers, the most popular hashtag right now is:
For writers, there are two popular hashtags right now:
If you’re editing something:
If you’re quoting a literary agent:


#Christfic Christian fiction
#devo Christian devotion
#devotion Christian devotion


#flashfic flash fiction
#fridayflash  flash fiction on a Friday

#Indiauthor self-publishing
#Indiepub self-publishing
#JesusTweeters from believers
#MBTWriMo My Book Therapy NaNoWriMo 
#MyBookTherapy writing community
#nano national novel writing month
#nanowrimo  national novel writing month







#pubtip  publication tips




#vss   very short story

#webfic  web fiction

#weblit   web literature

#wip   work in progress





#writetip  writing advice


#writingtips  writing advice

All of these should help you find the hashtags best suited to your situation.
I’d love to hear from you now. Twitter is ever-changing and hashtags come and they go. What are some of your favorites? Also, if you still have hashtag questions, post them below in the comments section.
Don’t forget to join the conversation,

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.


  1. Edie, this is great. Using hashtags on my blog has really increased my readership.Also, my publisher, Pelican Book Group, recently told all us authors to start using #PBGrp on all our postings so they would show up on the authors' page. I am sharing this article on social media, you bet.
    Elva Cobb Martin,
    Pres. ACFW-SC