You see them on most Social Media Platforms, and we know that most people are scratching their heads and wondering what they are for!
Hashtags have become an integral part of the Social Media family, so we are going to tackle the question we most frequently get asked, “What is a hashtag?” as well as explaining the business significance of hashtags and how they can help you with your marketing.
Hashtags actually rocketed to fame on Twitter, but they are now commonly used on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Basically, anyone sharing content on a relevant topic can add the hashtag label to their message. Other people searching for that topic, can search the # label to find other messages on that same Social Media Platform.
For example, during say an emergency situation like the King Lake Fires that we had, people could use the hashtag #fires #kinglake this can prove to be invaluable providing up to the minute news about the fires to not only firefighters and the police, but also to the general public. In these situations, they can be a great way for anyone to express their sentiment, something many of us feel compelled to do in the case of a disaster.
Hashtags, however, are not just limited to big news stories, they can be an incredible marketing tool for small and large business.
We really need to understand hashtags better and we will try and explain it to you in simpler terms here.
The first rule of thumb with Hashtags is NO SPACES ALLOWED. The hashtag can be a single word, an abbreviation as a combination of letters and numbers or a phrase.
ALL hashtags DO NOT HAVE SPACING – for example:
- The correct way #socialmedia
- The incorrect way #social media
- They will not work if spacing is included.
Secondly, Hashtags MUST start with a hashtag #, sounds obvious, but we have seen many words without the # symbol at the front, these are just words, NOT hashtag without the symbol.
Thirdly, don’t be scared of Hashtags, you can create your own, if you have a business, you should create a Hashtag with your business name and use that across your Social Media Platforms.
Hashtags should be short and sweet, especially for Twitter where you have a limited character count. You can also use Hashtags that already exist for example if you are talking about chocolate you could #chocolate (now who doesn’t like chocolate). Especially if you are wanting to enter a discussion around a topic where a hashtag already exists. By doing this you are sharing your content related to other chocolate lovers and basically saying “Hey I want to be part of this discussion”.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their social media, is overkill when it comes to using Hashtags, keep it simple, 2, 3 or even 4 hashtags are acceptable, anything over that becomes overkill. 2 is really the preferred amount.
We hope this has paved a way through all the Hashtag information and made it a little easier for you to understand.