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There is a right way--and a majorly wrong way, people. Here are four ways to properly use hashtags, and three ways to avoid if you don't want to be labeled as the  social-media-challenged member of the family.


When to use hashtags

1. With trending phrases: #SquadGoals, #OnFleek and other teen-speak phrases will draw attention to your posts because they are popular, or “trending” tags. (That means lots of people are using them and therefore looking at other posts associated with them.)

2. With categorized phrases: #DogsofInstagram, #HumansofNewYork, #CupcakesofBoston… Words that apply to your photo can be hashtagged to allow other users to find similar photos and tweets.

3. With pop culture references: #MakingaMurderer, anyone?

4. With event names: Weddings, parties and awards shows all have unique hashtags associated with them (to aggregate photos into one feed). Think of it like an online photo album that guests can contribute to throughout the night. (#5YearsofWow was pretty fun.)


When not to use hashtags

1. As one long phrase or sentence: Have you ever stared at someone’s Instagram hashtag while trying to decipher that huge one-word sentence with no spaces? Super annoying, right? Don’t be that person. (Unless you're January Jones.)

2. With Captain Obvious words: No one needs to see #dinner #steak #corn #food to understand that that is, indeed, a food photo of your steak and corn dinner.

3. Unrelated hashtags: We’re sure #TaylorSwift would love to see your latest 'gram of the kids, but it doesn’t really make sense to include her in your caption. And it just embarrasses your kids.

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