The hashtag (#) symbol used to be called the “pound sign” and you mostly only needed it when navigating telephone menus. But in recent years, the “pound sign” has taken on a new purpose and identity with regard to the internet. The kids call it a “hashtag” now and it’s no longer just something you press when you’ve finished entering your voicemail password.
#TheHashtag: What Does It Do?
On certain social media platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook, putting the hash symbol before a word or phrase changes it from regular text into a working link.
For instance, if I post to my Twitter account about my photography shop, I might write something like this:
Now I’ll add hashtags to the Tweet and you’ll see how things have changed.
Another way to add hashtags to a Tweet is like this:
However you put them, you’ll notice one important thing: the text immediately following the # has gone from regular text to a working link. Go ahead, click on the links. That will lead us to our next section.
Why Use Them?
When you link certain words or phrases on social media, you increase your visibility and connection to others looking for or posting about the same thing. When you click on #autumn in my Tweet, you’ll notice you were taken to a feed of all recent posts which also include #autumn. It’s an instant conversation. Now you can see posts about autumn all in one place, which increases the odds someone will find your Tweets for the same reason. It allows you to engage with like-minded folks and vice versa.
How Do I Use Them?
Here are some basic things to know when using the technology.
#hashtag decorum: Limit your hashtags to 2 per post. Posts with more are usually disregarded as “spammy” or even plain annoying and have less of a chance of being shared or “retweeted”.
#hashtag functionality: Don’t use spaces or punctuation. The moment you add a space or -!&, the link dies. Here are some examples of bad hashtags.
#i love autumn
#hasthag common sense: Choose your words wisely. You don’t want to link words like “great” or “pretty” unless they’ve proven to really work for you. You want to focus on keywords or topics that are specific yet popular, hone in on what makes your product unique and how it will play into the wants of other users. My photos may be pretty but they’re autumn-themed, so I opt for #autumn over #pretty.
#hashtag trends: It may seem like an overwhelming thing to put your finger on, but you can figure out which words and phrases are most important to your business by watching the trends. Maybe #home is too broad of a hashtag for my photo business and I should stick with #homedecor. Maybe I would get more hits if I used #dormdecor or #homeoffice instead. Try different things and then track your interactions. If #dormdecor gives me more retweets, followers or traffic to my site, maybe that’s more in line with my target audience.
Getting a better understanding of the hashtag may seem overwhelming but the most important thing to remember about the internet is that you can’t break it if you try some new things out. Tweet with one hashtag and if it doesn’t work, delete and try again. The bottom line is posts with hashtags are proven to reach farther than posts without them, so why not give it a shot.
If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with marketing strategies and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.