What Is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is pound sign (or hash) that can turn any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link on social media channels. Hashtags also allow you to organize content and track discussion topics based on your chosen keywords. The hashtag’s widespread use began with Twitter but has extended to other social media platforms. In 2007, developer Chris Messina proposed that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol and later that year, it took off. While hashtags on all social networks have the same fundamental purpose of content tagging and discovery, the use of hashtags still varies by network.
Grow Your Following
Hashtags are one of the best ways to grow your following on social media. Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) can help you expose your brand to large and targeted audiences. Here’s how:
- You can click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time
- You can "follow" a hashtag the same way you would follow an account which will enable you to find and connect with other accounts and followers
- Creating branded hashtags and using a mix of personalized hashtags and broad hashtags will allow your post to reach more followers
- Branded hashtags are great for user-generated content campaigns and contests
Do's and Don'ts
There are a few do's and don'ts that come with using hashtags in posts. First off, hashtags work best when used on Twitter and Instagram. Other platforms have the functionality but aren't as user-friendly when it comes to searching with hashtags. It is also important to treat your hashtag like a keyword for search engine optimization, which includes researching and strategically identifying what hashtags your target audience uses to discover content. Another thing you will want to remember is to keep it simple! Use a combination of general content hashtags (#blogging), branded hashtags (#LFCMarketing), and popular hashtags (#bloggingtips) to ensure that you reach all of your target audience. Using too many hashtags in a post or creating long-winded hashtags is a huge turn-off for followers. Lastly, have fun -- hashtags are a great way to show off your businesses’ personality, stay current with social trends, and add humor to your posts!
Now that you know the basics, we've included a few essential tips to get you started!