You see a twitterer or an instagram post with a # (pound sign) followed by a word. You say, what’s that?
Welcome to the World of Social Media!
The word you see that’s used by online citizens (or netizens) is called a #HASHTAG. The pound sign (#) is what makes a hashtag which is then followed by 1 or more words…without space between each word.
But what are they used for?
The use of hashtag started with Twitter—where the 140 character limit forced users to find new and innovative ways to interact with each other. At first, it was an unofficial way to brand a Twitter post to make it easier to find. For example, the first time the hashtag was used was during the San Diego fire, and it looked like this: #SanDiegoFire.
By placing this hashtag in search bar, anyone who wanted to get in on the discussion about the fire could find posts and jump right in.
Since then, hashtags became an official way to brand posts, making them part of a discussion on multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. They’ve also become a way to communicate, rather than just being used as a simple topic of discussion. You can use hashtags for sarcasm, emotions, or any other type of humor.
How to Use Hashtags for your Business
You will need a specific account to represent your company and brand. Then you will have to find out what hashtags are trending for your specific field. This is simple, all you have to do is look at other companies that are operating in the same field as you and see what hashtags they’re using. Finding the right hashtags for your company is like free advertising, because your company will be linked to tweets from your competitors and customers.
Another way to get some users your way is to use trending hashtags. Try to find a hashtag that works with your brand. You could also make use of unrelated trending hashtags, like #XboxOne for a restaurant, if you’ve already built an online persona or a hip brand for your company. And don’t be afraid to make your own hashtags. Whenever you are running a campaign or launching a new product, you can add your own hashtags and have other people use them, increasing your social media exposure. On the same note, you can also use your own hashtags in a much more efficient way. Simply start a promotion, raffle or a contest for people who use your hashtags. This way, you’ll get retweets and a lot of exposure with a marketing campaign that is easy to implement and costs next to nothing.
As for the hashtags themselves, they only work if you get them right, so make sure you don’t have any spelling errors. You should also know that you can use up to three hashtags per tweet. Any more than three will make your tweets look like spam and you don’t want that. And last but not least, you should add context when you are using a hashtag. Always make sure that the hashtag is relevant to what you are tweeting about.
Go Forth, Tweet and #Hashtag!
These are the basics of the hashtag. If you want to know more about building a social media brand and maximizing the exposure you get from your social media activity, be sure to check out this article.
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I’m a digital online generalist, with a wide range of skills from web design, graphics, marketing & SEO. One of the things I love with my job is working with other creative marketers and helping business owners and organizations maximize their online presence. I love a good cup of coffee & enjoy the Metro Parks in Ohio with my family.