Until recently, I never thought of #hashtags as any more than a way to categorize my posts. #hashtags do that but I am realize that they do more. #hashtags were first used in 2007 on Twitter. Because Twitter only allowed 140 characters at the time, the idea was to use words prefaced with a ‘#’ (octothrope) as a way to group tweets. This idea came from a web marketing specialist, Chris Messina.
Since that very simple beginning, #hashtag use has grown and grown. #hashtags are now used in virtually every social media type and platform. #hashtags are a way to connect social media content to a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. They also make it easier to find posts around a topic because aggregate all social media with the same #hashtag.
I read a post a couple of days ago that defined #hashtag basics as
- Always start with # but won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation or symbols
- Make sure your accounts are public or your #hashtagged content won’t be seen by non-followers
- Don’t string too many words together, the easier a #hashtag is to remember the better.
- Use relevant and specific #hashtags because any #hashtag too obscure will not be found or used by others
- Limit the number of #hastags because using too many can actually look spammy
Why Use #Hashtags
#hashtags in your posts means you are actively involved a dialogue with others; and most important, your posts will be seen by others. This will get you more comments , likes and shares which will boost your brand. As we all learned in the ClickTrackProfit training, being engaged with others on social media is the best way to get known.
Build your brand
Creating a #hashtag that you use consistently and get others to use is an effective way to create dialogue about you, your business or your opportunity. This not only gets you know but will build credibility. A new #hashtag you may be familiar with is #IAmAliveChallenge. This friendly challenge urges individuals to post a photo or video every day to let everyone you are doing well in these unusual times. Also to share your post on Twitter. The individual who started this challenge, Erik Gustafsson, @flaxz, is definitely building a brand around this #hashtag.
Show support for social issues
A post using #hashtag associated with social issues can show you care about more than just your brand. This can add to your credibility and start building trust.
Adds context to a post
Using a #hashtag, can give your post context without a lot of words. In Twitter, you have 280 character. In Instagram and other platforms, often less is more. People surfing social media don’t usually want to spend a lot of time reading posts. Here is an example I found on twitter.
Two #hashtags get NASA’s point across. It is the the 50th anniversary for Apollo although you don’t know it is Apollo 11. And, it is world emoji day. Who knew. That tweet is probably the extreme but I do think it shows how #hashtags can be used to give context to a post quickly.
Help the type people you are looking for find you
Some social media allows you to follow #hashtags as well as users; e.g., Instagram. #hashtags related to your brand/business helps people with similar interests find you. For those platforms that don’t allow #hashtag following, using popular #hashtags related to your brand/business can send people with similar interests your way.
Using appropriate #hashtags wisely can boost your branding whether personal or business. They can also help you get know, be liked and build trust which as we have all learned in ClickTrackProfit will lead to more sales and growing business.