Today, book sales go beyond the physical experience of visiting your local bookstores. With the new technology, book purchases can all be at the comfort of your reader’s fingertips. 

This is why it is important for authors to create a great online presence.

One way to do that?

Use a hashtag! This will make your social media posts work harder for you. That’s because hashtags help you to amplify your posts and help your readers to discover your books.

Basically,  a hashtag is introduced by the number sign, or hash symbol, #. It is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other microblogging services (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest). It lets users apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that helps other users easily find messages with a specific theme or content. In other words: Hashtags enhance your exposure to people who do not follow you.

Hashtags are basically a great tool to help you widen your following by making your posts more visible. #Hashtags continue to work for you long after you have posted (percolation). The social media platforms’ crawlers continuously search for them and try to connect the people who use them.

So how do hashtags work? 

It goes in the process of percolation., where web crawlers continued to collect your data and connect you with people long after you have posted them. 

Hashtags may be used on any social media, and are typically found within a post in an #organic fashion, or at the end of the post like an index word.

Some of the great hashtags for readers to use, 

 #amreading

#amreadingfantasy 

 #amreadingYA 

 #amreadingthrillers 

 #summerreading   

or #tbr   (to be read)

Now, if you are an author or writer, here are some great hashtags to use: 

#amwriting  (1,045,508 viewers at the time of this article). 

#novel (383,783 viewers at the time of this article)

  #author  (1,448,021  viewers at the time of this article)

 

Just a tiny piece of advice, use 3 – 6 hashtags. Start with a popular standard then drill down. For example, @ChristineKatSmith used #catnap  #tabbycat   #happyhour  #landotter (a boater’s term for a cat) #friday #shelterinplace.   Christine is the co-Captain of the David B, a small ship that offers adventure cruises to Alaska and the award-winning author of More Faster Backwards, Rebuilding David B. 

In the above Instagram post, she used the following hashtags @ mvdavidb
#glaciers #dawesglacier #alasks #alaskacruise #cruisealternative #tracyarmfordsterrorwilderness #photographyworkshop #travel #explore #adventure #wilderness #wildplaces #tidewaterglacier #boattour #yachtcharter #alaskayachtcharter #smallshipcruise #mvdavidb

Now to see how one of our favorite authors uses hashtags – Michelle Cox at @michellecoxwrites   Michelle’s A Promise Given won the Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Grand Prize along with other awards.

Notice how she uses little known hashtags all the way to a broader net with #DowntonAbbey  #Chicago  #MissFisherMurderMysteries  and then associates her brand (#HenriettaAndInspectorHowardSeries) with the other hashtags such as #mustread  #booktofilm and so forth.

Hashtags on Twitter


 

Twitter is a platform where the hashtag is so endemic that it often becomes like punctuation, performing its function while remaining nearly invisible to readers, as long as it’s not overdone.

Using a hashtag as part of a sentence is understood and accepted on Twitter, probably due to the character limit. But on Google+ and Facebook, hashtags are used less and can be intrusive in the middle of sentences. When in doubt on Facebook and Google+, add your hashtags to the end of your post, even on a separate ending line.

Hashtags on Instagram


 

If you only want to use #hashtags on INSTAGRAM, then use the following format:   #instawritingcommunity  #instawritersofinstagram  #instaamwriting

On Instagram, the hashtag   #books are banned. So, you must drill down instead of using the obvious. But #instafantasybooks is legal.

One study shows that Instagram posts with a least one hashtag generate on average 12.65 percent more engagement.

Hashtags Do’s and Donts 

If your hashtags stick out like a sore thumb, it may communicate “this is spam”, especially on some platforms, and that may create a negative reaction to the post.

Do not use ALL CAPS as it is seen as YELLING!

Here’s one way to use a Hashtag. For example, in the book The Jøssing Affair by Janet Oakley is an award-winning novel is about the Nazi occupation of Norway and the Norwegian Resistance Fighters in WWII. There is also love, betrayal, espionage, and bravery.

If you are the author, you can start off with #JossingAffairBookLaunch  #WWIINorway  #NorwayOccupation #NorwaySuspenseNovels

Do not use ! or ? or ‘  or any punctuation in your hashtags besides the hashtag (#)

Also, you have to make sure that you aren’t using any banned words. Once social media sites can get hold of these banned words, your posts and account could be flagged and then “shadowbanned” which means that your posts will not percolate throughout Instagram.

Now, the problem is there are some totally innocent hashtags that are banned. Examples are #happythanksgiving  or #besties (banned because of overuse and spamming). Others are a little bit, racy like  #milf   #lingerie    #nasty    #xxx   #selfharm.

With millions of books sold online each year, hashtags give you the opportunity to connect with your target readers, especially in an increasingly competitive online market. 

Now, what hashtags would you like to use? 

This content was originally published here.


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