Can a Hashtag Help You?

Make sure you use your hashtags when sharing a cool post or picture.
There was a time when no-one knew what a hashtag was, now they are everywhere! If you are still confused about what they can do, or how useful they might be, read on.

What is a Hashtag?

The Oxford Dictionary provides this definition:
A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

What does a hashtag loo like? Its a cryptic shape that has lots of uses

Why Use a Hashtag?

A hashtag can be a valuable asset in your publicity armoury as a cat rescue, pet blogger or creative artist who photographs, draws or paints cats. It can be used to spotlight:
  • Adoptions or adoption events with several cats at one location.
  • Feature a pet author or artist
  • Spread the word about an event you are participating in.

It is another way to reach people whose attention you want to grab and it beats jumping up and down shouting “yoooHOOO“!

A hashtag reaches people who may be on Twitter or Instagram but who may not be on Facebook, and yes there are plenty. I add the DashKitten hashtag when I share one of my photographs as it allows people to find my blog. Many cat authors and artists do the same. 

Your own friends, family and readers will be excited when you take the time to share your work or rescue news on social media. If you are attending an event,  you might want to use any ‘event-specific‘ hashtag available, or use your own custom hashtags like #DashKitten or #Katzenworld. If you are sharing an adoption event local to you – include location hashtags like #AdoptathonLondon or #CatsProtectionYorkshire.

What is this crazy hashtag thing?

Here’s how following one particular hashtag helped me.

Until I attended BlogPaws®, the pet blogging conference, ‘for real’ a few years ago, I had relied on the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram streams of friends who were there. To watch the shared streams and keep up to date with my friends made a difference and I felt engaged and excited taking part in a small way. I did not feel I was not missing out due to being far away in New Zealand.

Reasons Hashtags Matter

From cat creative events like the Cat Writers Association Annual Conference (#CWA2020) to your local #catshow, hashtags can focus the spotlight where you want it to be. Letting people see a sweet rescue cat in the adoption spotlight, images of an author signing her books or your latest photograph will help you spread the word by sharing with many more people than those able to attend an event in person.

Sharing a product you love, through a sponsored post as a blogger, or as a loyal fan, is another use of hashtags. It helps you to spread the word. If you check out the post by Renegade and Freya here at Katzenworld, they have been advising on cat carriers and to reach their target market they might share hashtags like #catcarrier and #catlovers. As people know Renegade and Freya they will pay attention to what the cats have to say with their hashtags.

What kind of things can a hashtag be used for?

Hashtags and Missing Pets

This quote from our colleague at Where Pets are Found summarises how important hashtags can be for sharing missing, or stolen pets worldwide. It is simple and easy for everyone to share or retweet an appeal. Successful appeals are Brief (so shares do not cut off details), have some kind of Contact Info. for the owner of the missing pet, and Clear Photographs (with any distinctive markings). Hashtags will also include the town or village the pet was lost in to alert people in a specific area.

Hashtags are really effective for shared interests, and incredibly important in the work with lost & found pets across all social media. They enable us to tap into audiences in specific locations, and conversations about events taking place near where a pet was last seen. These special interest groups are always keen to help a lost, stolen, found or adoptable pet in their community.” @WherePetsAreFound

Finally, even if you don’t use hashtags often, making sure you use them correctly makes them more effective.

These tips will help you get it right:

  • Is there a specific event hashtag, find it and use it. An example might be a Cats Protection appeal #CPFindToby
  • Make images as clear as you can. Capture a moment and share.
  • Don’t overdo hashtags. We recommend a three to five tag limit on Twitter, and more for Instagram.
  • On Twitter keep a column open specifically for your hashtag using Tweetdeck. This way you don’t miss exciting news, and so you can respond quickly.
  • Use Bitly to shrink a long link.
  • Remember your focus audience if you blog. #Catlovers? #CatPhotos
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