Hashtag in a Flash
On Twitter, the pound sign turns any word(s) that directly follow it into a searchable link. This lets you organize content and follow topics based on keywords. If you wanted to post about the Breaking Bad finale, you would include #BreakingBad in your tweet to join the conversation. Click on it to see all the posts that have that hashtag in real time. Keep in mind that you can use the @ symbol before a person’s Twitter handle to tweet at them directly, rather than using the hashtag.
You can invent your own hashtag as well because there is no moment like the present! Place a hash before a series of words such as your business name or brand slogan and there you go!
Here is how to use the #hashtag on different platforms:
Twitter: Twitter is the birthplace of the modern hashtag and so the hashtags here are the most versatile. Denote a specific topic and look at the “trends” sidebar to see hashtags you might be interested in.
Facebook: Facebook only recently added hashtag support in June 2013. Clicking on Facebook hashtags will take you to a list of posts containing the same hashtag.
Instagram: Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram and help you gain followers.
Pinterest: Use Pinterest hashtags to search for content. Click on the hashtag in a pin’s description to sift through results that contain the exact hashtag or similar words.
Want to know which hashtags are trending across social media platforms? Hashtags.org tells you which tags are trending in real time.
Hashtags for Business
Many mainstream brands now have Twitter accounts, and many choose to create hashtags to promote specific events or marketing campaigns. If you want to use the hashtag as part of your business strategy, here are a few tips:
Consolidate your tweets: Use a specific account that will represent your business. Set up a business account and have an employee tweet on behalf of the company in a scheduled manner.
Use trending hashtags: See what hashtags other business competitors are using. If you’re promoting cheap travel deals, you want to use hashtags like #FlightDeals so audiences can easily find you with those keywords. Make use of trending hashtags if they relate to your business. If you use something irrelevant in a tweet about your brand, you may look like spam and it will hurt your credibility.
Create your own hashtag: Don’t be afraid to create your own hashtag for a special event or marketing campaign. Remind your followers to share it in related posts. Use it on all promotions.
Be specific and keep it simple: If you’re using a hashtag to join a conversation, make sure it is specific to your topic. If you’re talking about The Ottawa Hospital, use #OttawaHospital instead of simply #hospital or #health. A vague or generic hashtag won’t do you any good. Neither will long links or hashtags used too often because they can look like spam. Three hashtags should be the limit for Twitter or Facebook. You can get away with a few more for Pinterest or Instagram. Don’t hashtag the same word more than once in the same post!
Keep in mind, your hashtag’s visibility will depend on your privacy settings. If your Twitter account is private, only those authorized to see your tweets will have access to your hashtags. If you are using hashtags to increase your business reach and gain brand exposure ensure your tweets are set to Public.