Decoded: Hashtag

What a hashtag is and how you can use it effectively in your business’s social media strategy
 

January 2015

What Is a Hashtag?

The hashtag symbol is commonly recognized as the pound symbol (#).

In a social media post, a hashtag is used to turn any word or group of words (without spaces) into a search term. So, if you include #smallbusiness in a Tweet, people searching for that term or conversing about small business on Twitter would find your Tweet. Increasing your search relevance on social media can help attract new followers and grow your online community.

Many people use hashtags to be clever or funny (#sarcastictweet), but tongue-in-cheek phrases preceded by a pound sign do nothing to improve results on social media. The point of the hashtag is to bring together users with common interests. Chances are that a person searching #MeatloafFail will not be a valuable business connection.

By searching hashtags, you can build a base of relevant people and brands for your business to follow, keep tabs on the competition, and identify influencers in your industry.

How to Effectively Use a Hashtag

For a hashtagged phrase to turn up in a search or appear in a conversation, there must be no spaces or punctuation marks in the term. You can use numbers, and capital and lowercase letters will yield the same search results. Using the same example as above, #smallbusiness and #SmallBusiness will achieve the same results, but #small business or #smallbusiness! will not.

If you are at a loss for how to jump into hashtagging, look up hashtags that other businesses in your field are using, or take a look at which hashtags are trending or popular at the moment, and make use of them. The caveat is that those hashtags have to be relevant to your business or you will lose credibility.

Hashtags can be used on Twitter (where the concept began back in 2007), Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ to yield similar results on multiple platforms.

#happyhashtagging
 

 

Topics: SMALL BUSINESS

 

 

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