When giving workshops about social media, one of the most common questions I get is “What is a hashtag?”
What Is A #Hashtag?
A hashtag is generally a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign (#). Examples of hashtags in posts might look something like this: #skydive or #DZMarketing or #LifeIsGood
Hashtags are keywords used to organize messages on a social network.
For example, if you are interested to see who is talking about skydiving on a social network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc), type in the topic of interest in the search query box and the results will show anyone who has mentioned your topic in any of their comments.
The example below shows the results on Twitter using #skydiving in the search query. Anyone who has mentioned #skydiving will now populate your feed.
Here’s an example using Facebook:
Can Hashtags Be Used In Other Ways?
Though hashtags were created to categorize topics, they are also used to:
– express emotions: #nothappy #stoked #timeofmylife
– identify where you are in terms of places or events: #Charlotte #SkydiveCarolina #Carolinafest
– Connect with people with similar interests: #skydive #skydiving #Crossfit
Where Should You Position Your Hashtags?
There aren’t any rules. You can position your hashtags in the caption that you’re writing or at the end.
We love what we do! #marketing
Had the time of my life today. #skydiving
#Skydiving is the best thing I’ve ever done.
Tip: Do not use hashtags more than once for the same word:
#Skydiving is the best thing I’ve ever done. #skydiving
Intricacies with Hashtags
The above explains what hashtags are and how they can be used, but do understand that every social network uses hashtags slightly differently.
Facebook was the last social network to adopt hashtags for categorizing topics, so hashtags on Facebook are most often used to express emotions, places and events. Rule of thumb – don’t use more than two hashtags.
Twitter’s foundation was built using hashtags for categorizing your topic. Not using hashtags with Twitter essentially renders your post nearly invisible because the news feeds on Twitter are continuously being updated depending how many people you follow on Twitter. Rule of thumb – don’t use more than two hashtags as you are relegated to only 140 characters per tweet.
Instagram is also built utilizing hashtags and is the most aggressive social network with the use of them. It’s not uncommon to see an average of 5-10 hashtags used for every image uploaded. Being an image based site, the image may be of interest to many different people based on the elements within the image.
Should You Use Hashtags?
Yes – it allows for greater exposure and the organization of content.
Have Questions About Hashtags?
No problem! E-mail me or call me at (704) 268-9338. I’m happy to chat with you about hashtags!