It all started on Twitter, but in today’s social media world, hashtags are huge and are becoming an important part of online culture.
It’s unusual to see someone who doesn’t know what a hashtag is.
This is not to say that everyone does. There are lots of people who still don’t know what they are and many who do, don’t understand it or know how to use it.
So, what is a Hashtag (#) on social media? – A hashtag on social media is a word or phrase that is preceded by a hash (pound sign – #). It is used to identify a specific topic, conversation or chat.
Chris Messina, proposed in 2007, the use of the hashtag on Twitter to tag topics of interest. He posted the first hashtag on Twitter:
How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups? As in #barcamp [msg]?— Chris Messina, (“factoryjoe”), August 23, 2007
According to him, he made the suggestion to make it easy for users to search for content and find specifically related updates. Therefore, the hashtag “was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
According to Wikipedia, At the Beginning July 2009, Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags in tweets to Twitter search results for the hashtagged word. In 2010, Twitter introduced “Trending Topics” on the Twitter front page, displaying hashtags that are rapidly becoming popular.
A hashtag makes a word or any group of words a searchable link.
You can add hashtags to text, image, and video updates.
Twitter has an algorithm to tackle attempts to spam the trending list and ensure that hashtags trend naturally.
While the fame of hashtags on social media may have begun on Twitter, its use has been accepted on other social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Google search.
Hashtags are clickable. They return a search of all content containing the word or group of words preceding the hashtag.
when a hashtag precedes a word or group of words, It lets users i.e. followers and non-followers who search it see the tweets and content you update on social media sites that support it.
When developing or implementing a social media marketing strategy, creating or using the right hashtag will most definitely increase the reach of your content.
Conversation on social media are easily organized with hashtags and hashtags are structured around subjects. because a hashtag search will order and return conversations on a subject.
You can use the search result to better understand your business, your competitors, followers, Twitter users etc. You can also use it to answer questions and provide better customer service.
It is very vital for a business to stay active on social media. Hashtags can help a business boost social media presence or spread campaigns. It such an amazing marketing tool you!
Benefits of Hashtags.
1. Visibility: – Hashtags help your target audience discover you and your content on social media.
2. Increase Engagements and follows: – hashtags increases engagements with your updates which often times results to more followers.
3. Find new customers: – You can use a hashtag to find a prospecting customer or a dissatisfied one with a competitor. You can use it to monitor conversations as they happen.
4. Branding: – hashtags can help you brand your business. You can create a hashtag that’s particular to your business. You can also create a hashtag for a specific campaign you’re running. It helps existing and prospecting customers follow and stay updated.
5. Product ideas: – hashtags help you listen to conversations, especially what users are discussing the most. What they desire in a product, what they don’t like and improvement they’ll like to see. This can guide you into improving on an existing product/service or to develop a new product entirely.
If you intend to use hashtags for business and marketing here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Create your own business hashtag – Create a hashtag that is custom to your business. It can be for an upcoming event or a campaign. Having your own hashtag makes it easy for your target audience to find and connect with you. It’s also a way for you to update your community.
Make it simple, short, informative and memorable.
2. Use relevant Hashtag – Use hashtags that are relevant to your company and business. Don’t use a hashtag because it’s trending or popular. Your update might be seen as a spam if you do.
3. Don’t Space – Space will break your hashtag link. Make it one word. If there is space between the hashtag and the word or between groups of words, the hashtag will end where space is, only the first connecting word will be linked.
4. Use capitalization between words – When a hashtag is joined with more than one word or many characters, it might be hard to read. To make it easy to read, it is recommended that you capitalized between words.
Example: #hashtagtips or #HashtagTips
Visibly the hashtag with capital is a lot cooler to read.
5. Using too many hashtags – Using too many hashtags for any update lowers your engagement rate. Adding more than 3 on most platforms will lower your engagement rate except on Instagram.
6. Be Specific – When creating a hashtag for a campaign, be specific. Been specific with the hashtag will increase your chances of connecting with a targeted audience.
Example: if you write novels and your genre is romance and you use #Novels your target readers might find it hard connecting, but if you use #RomanceNovels, readers searching for romance novel will able to find you easily.
7. Don’t hashtag every word – it’s a very bad idea to hashtag every word. I will make it very hard to read, for you and your audience.
8. Numbers are allowed – Hashtags support number e.g. #8HashtagTips. Please, note that punctuations are not allowed.
Some commonly used daily hashtags (Source: elissawyrick.com)
A hashtag is a great tool for content marketers. It helps them find and categorize conversations that are related to their business and also get their content across to the target audience.
So, go ahead. Create yours or use hashtags that relate to you and your business.
If you have any success story with hashtags or question please leave a comment.