Nearly everyone reading this will probably know what a hashtag is but just in case, here is a quick review:
A hashtag is a way of tagging social media posts to make them easier to search for. They were first used on Twitter as a way to organize the firehose of tiny messages that spew from the platform. The # symbol signifies the start of a hashtag. So, for instance, if you wanted to find posts about Atlanta, you could do a search for #atlanta and find all the tweets tagged with that. Facebook also uses these, as does Instagram, but Twitter is the clear king of hashtagging.
So, how can you use these to your benefit? First, you can use hashtags to find other freelancers on social media. Second, you can use them as signals to clients that you’re an active freelancer. It’s agreed that you shouldn’t use more than two hashtags for any particular tweet, but choosing hashtags can be a bit of a gamble. They are also used for temporary events, advertising campaigns, or for humor value rather than for their search qualities. Which ones are actually of benefit? Here is a brief list:
Action Hashtags for Freelancers
Some hashtags are used to describe what you’re doing at the time. #amwriting and #amediting are two very popular tags for freelance writers or any sort of writer or editor. Many of the posts may be more inspirational than practical, but these are still useful tags to use. That said, since Twitter is primarily a medium for writing, there are a slew of writing-related hashtags. Here are a few useful ones.
- #askagent, #askeditor, #amquerying: Great ways to get clarifications on how to improve your pieces or to ask people in the publishing field how to improve your queries.
- #journorequest: If you are a journalist in need of a source, or you would like to participate in an interview with a journalist, this is THE hashtag to use.
- #freelancewriter, #contentwriting, #copywriter, #ghostwriter, etc: If you have a specialty, use it! Even if it’s just being a freelance writer.
Photographers have their own set of hashtags to promote their images. #photography is the obvious one, but you should also look at #photo, #photog, and #togs as well.
If you want to try others out, use a site like Hashtagify and see how much traffic it is receiving.
General Freelancing Hashtags
By far, the most popular freelancing tag is #freelance. This is a great place to start your hashtagging, but not just for its popularity. By doing a search on that tag, you can find other tags related to your specific niche. This can help you hone which tags are the most useful for your freelance social media self-promotion. In contrast, #freelancer and #freelancers bring up articles about freelancing rather than jobs.
There are also general business hashtags that can dredge up useful articles related to freelancing, such as #marketing, #business, and #entrepreneurs. #selfemployed and #smallbiz are sometimes good, but there are a lot of MLM and network marketers hanging out on those tags. Beware. #jobs can also bring up some good leads, but most of the postings on there are not for freelancers.
And just for fun, #watercoolermoment is a great way to simulate those short conversations in the break room with coworkers when you just need small talk.
If you’re looking for more broad action steps you can take with your hashtags, check out some ideas and put them into practice!