Hashtag vomit, like binge drinking until you black out and wake up in a pool of your own yuck, is a rookie mistake many authors make.
Shhhh… don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been guilty myself. [subliminal messaging] Learn from my mistake.
But what is hashtag vomit, you might ask? Why, it’s a term that I coined to describe the use of excessive amounts of hashtags (that’s pound signs, or number sings to you older folk – that’s right, Kat’s got your back, wink, wink) on a Twitter post (aka a Tweet).
Think about it – there are only 140 characters allowable in a single Tweet. This includes all of your spaces and punctuation. There are even less when you add a link, or an image/video, and still less when you add both.
The words that come to mind when I try to come to grips with this are: limiting, confining, suffocating and claustrophobic. Sometimes restraints are quite fun, just not these kind of restraints.
I am a writer. I love words… Please don’t try to take them away from me.
When you have so few characters to get your message across, you must be flawlessly succinct, faultlessly mercenary when it comes to cutting out punctuation, and roguishly creative with your spelling. Even with the perfect message, it’s still way too easy to get lost and drown in the swiftly moving sea of tweets.
The hashtag is your life raft. It is a cry for help and a call to arms. Please #HearMyTweet!
Of course you could just automate your tweet, repeating the same one over and over again, every 15 minutes, in the hopes that no matter when your audience is on, they will see your message on their feed and take heed. This is a supremely annoying trick. And, for your audience, it must be much like picking up the phone to an endless loop of prerecorded message. One might even call it SPAM – egads!
- #IARTG – Indie Authors ReTweet Group
- #ASMSG – Author’s Social Media Support Group
- #EARTG – Erotica Author’s ReTweet Group
- #LPRTG – Literary Porn ReTweet Group
- #SSRTG – Smart Smut ReTweet Group
- #BYNR – Be Your Next Read
- #BookBoost – (self explanatory)
… and so many more. As author’s, it’s so easy to get caught up in that ‘kid in a candy store’ mentality and try to slap as many hashtags onto the end of your tweet as you can, and try to reach more people and get more retweets, and more little hearts and more, more, MORE!
This is a mistake.
This is #HashtagVomit
I’m not going to bother citing the studies that say that posts with only 2-3 hashtags (max) tend to be looked upon more favorably by your audience (as do posts with images and/or links), but they are out there, and they are easy to find. The point that I am trying to make is that less is more.
And when you have such a tiny amount of real estate to play with, how can you willingly (willfully) give it away like that?
Take the time to craft your message and direct it with precision, by adding a link, and/or and image that improve your message, then send it off with a hashtag or two that do the same – not all of them!
Don’t throw-up hashtag vomit chunks because you couldn’t be bothered to do your homework on what the most effective things to say to your audience might be, to gain their attention and action. Sure, you’ll spray a whole crowd of people with your nasty mess, but I don’t think any of them will be clamoring to thank you for it, or in this case, to grab a copy of your most recent book.
Just take it down a notch, eh buddy?
When you stop spamming people with your posts, and you give proper respect to the groups that have set up tags to help you (by selecting tags with intent, rather than lumping them all together like a greedy grubber and jamming people’s feeds), you might be surprised by how much more amenable people will become to listening to what you have to say… instead of just tuning you out.