What is a hashtag? Where do you use them? What do they do?

Many of us have seen videos making fun of the recent spike in popularity of the hashtag while some of us have no idea what a hashtag is. Hashtags allow social media users, most commonly on Twitter, the ability to search for a certain topic and engage in conversation. They are formatted as #Topic. For example, a user interested in a specific television show can search #InsertTVShowHere and find what people across a social media platform, like Twitter, are saying about that show. Social media platforms also display the most common “trending” or “hot” hashtags that allow users to see what is most commonly being talked about on the platform.

It is a common misconception that hashtags can only be used on Twitter. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest also use hashtags to help organize content and conversations by topic. When a user searches for a specific hashtag, all content and conversations that have used that hashtag will be brought up. This provides a convenient way for interested consumers to find the information they are looking for and allows businesses to track the trends.

What is a Hashtag?

Photo via HypnoArt and Pixabay

What’s your first step in the hashtag frenzy?

Create a company specific hashtag and use it! It is one thing to use a common hashtag, such as #marketing, versus using a hashtag that is unique to your company alone, such as #YourCompany’sName.

So how can your business use hashtags most effectively?

Create a campaign specific hashtag. For example, if you want to engage with users and see how they are using your product, create a clever hashtag that coincides with the name of your campaign and ask your consumers to use the hashtag when they use various social media platforms. This will allow you to engage with your consumers and create a relationship.

The good thing about hashtags?

You are not limited to using just one! You can use your company specific hashtag along with more common hashtags to increase the visibility of your content. Then, when someone searches the common hashtag, your content is displayed as well!

Now that you have some social media tips regarding hashtags, take some time to research how certain companies have engaged with their consumers via hashtags. What hashtags have worked for them? How many hashtags do they use? What’s trending now in your industry?


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