Hashtags – what are they and how should you use them?
This is the most common question I get asked about Social Media and so I thought I’d write a very quick instructional blog!
Hashtags can be used on just about all social media platforms – facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkedin, instagram to name just a few….
Hashtags are actually just words or phrases but without spaces and with the hashtag symbol placed in front. You can ‘create’ your own or use one that has been created by someone else.
‘Creating’ a Hashtag is as easy as typing it into a social media post…. #creatinghashtags
The spaces between words are taken out to ensure the words are linked to the hashtag symbol. As soon a space is added, the word is ‘unlinked’ – most social networks indicate this by highlighting everything that is part of the hashtag in a different colour – try typing #creatinghashtags in a facebook status to see how this works (you don’t need to ‘send’ the status, feel free to delete it!).
So how do you use hashtags? They’re used as a highlight of a word, an abbreviation, a subject or concept.
— Andy Guile (@askandyguile) March 27, 2014
#April2isahappyday – People using this Hashtag just want to celebrate April 2nd.
— Michelle Wright (@colourwheelcrea) April 2, 2014
#SBS is a reference to Small Business Sunday, started by Theo Paphitis to recognise and promote small businesses in the UK.
— Theo Paphitis 🇺🇦 (@TheoPaphitis) March 31, 2014
#Manchesterhour – these hashtag hours are a way to find local contacts and develop relationships. In this example, more than one “place” hour is mentioned – there’s also things like #UKstartuphour, #UKhandmadehour etc
Find out more about Twitter Hours
How do you find hashtags to use?
This is easiest on twitter – simply write the word or phrase you want with the # symbol in front into the search field. This will bring up all the relevant links to your hashtag.
Another way is to click on any hashtag within another post – social media platforms make them into links for you which connects all post/status/photos etc with that hashtag, together.
Is there anything you shouldn’t do with hashtags?
No! You could use one that’s just 2-3 letters long or a whole sentence if you wanted (although remember on twitter you’ve only got 140 characters so it wouldn’t be wise to use them all up).
There is however, etiquette – most people don’t like you to #hashtag every word – they need to be relevant. Remember it’s ‘highlighting’ specifics so using them too much just detracts from that.
And, it’s very important to read it through before you post it in the famous case of Susan Boyle’s album launch party….#susanalbumparty
Why use hashtags at all?
They’re superb at increasing the amount of people seeing your social media, including organic reach on Facebook business pages! They’re also great at specifying which area you’re in to attract a local market and a perfect way to find people to connect with in your area/in your business field/with common interests/potential customers…or just help you find great people to follow.
Want to learn more about social media? Book in for a one to one with The Smart Bear and we’ll answer all your social media questions and help you build a content strategy.