How to use hashtags #
The hashtag had its first appearance in August 2007 in a blog post by Stowe Boyd. It has since then become most commonly used on Twitter, who started hyperlinking all of their hashtags in July 2009. In 2010 Twitter introduced “trending topics” in addition to the hashtags, they were displayed and shown on the front page. This made it easy to follow what and who was trending on the internet.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is defined when a word or a sentence is put together with the symbol we call “the number sign”, like for example #SEO or #SocialMedia Using the hashtag is a way to brand something that you’ve written, it’s a way of spreading the word and sharing content. Through hashtags you don’t need to be friends or follow someone on Twitter, if you hashtag something, ANYONE searching for that word or sentence will be able to find your post. Although hashtags originated on twitter, other social networks such as Instagram and Facebook has now followed suit with hashtags.
What about the @ ?
If you’re already on twitter or any kind of social media platform you’ve probably also noticed the commonly used “at sign”. This is used in the same way as the number sign, so what is the difference? When using @ before a word or a sentence it means that it belongs to an account, so for example @BBC or @JamieOliver. Remember to check up on the account as they might not always have the account name you expect them to have. Even if they appear as “British People”, their actual account name is @itsohsobritish as shown below. The reason for this is that “British People” was most likely taken when this account was made, so this is when having a unique name helps you.
How to use a hashtag?
The technical way
It’s easier than you think. You’ll find the hashtag button on your right side of the keyboard, next to the big ‘Enter’ button (English keyboard). Press the button and then write the word you wish to hashtag, without space. If you’re writing a sentence make sure to leave no space between each word. Let me show you an example!
I just booked my summer #holiday with @Expedia to #LosAngeles – I can’t wait for sun, #surfing and shopping!
In this tweet I’ve chosen to hashtag #holiday, #LosAngeles and #surfing because I want people looking for holiday and Los Angeles with a surfing interest to find my post (Los Angeles is put together as one word). As you’ve probably noticed I’ve “tagged” Expedia with the “at sign” because they have an account.
Why should I use it?
As a private person the main aim with using hashtags is to gain followers and get into conversations, basically socialising. It can increase your followers and the reach you have.
For a company I would say it’s a vital part of twitter marketing.. It is a great way to share what you do, give away offers, host competitions or get the buzz going. This new way of branding is phenomenal and personal, and most importantly it’s FREE.
Where can I use them?
You can now use #hashtags on most social media platforms, even though most people relate it to Twitter. As mentioned earlier Facebook has recently launches hashtags, whilst Instagram, Google +, Tumblr have been using hashtags for a while. So there is no excuse.
DOs and DON’TS
There is not many ways you can get hashtagging wrong, however here’s a few do’s and don’ts:
DO get trends going. This is a great way to create a buzz and gain followers. Try and find a fun and engaging hashtag that will get people talking. This is definitely one of the best ways to brand yourself and/or your company, and its simple.
DON’T hate. Be careful about negativity, if you come across angry or hateful you will affect people’s view of you. Don’t say stuff you wouldn’t say in real life. Obviously feel free to hashtag things that you disagree with or dislike, but be prepared for people to disagree. Also if you are responsible for a company’s social media strategy, don’t every hashtag angry, rude or offensive words. It will get you and the company in trouble.
DON’T hashtag every word. It will make your readers go crazy and it’ll look like spam.