I stood on the stage addressing over a 100 people talking about how hashtags need to be used for this particular contest that I was running. It was then that I hit this moment of realization, the realization that people knew just the word hashtag but not what it was important for or what its utility is or even how to use it properly. Hence, this thought of writing this article came up. So here are a few important thing you need to know about hashtags:
1. What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or a set of words put together, proceeded by the hash or the pound symbol. E.g. #business #socialmedia #SMB
Though hashtags were popularised by Twitter, they can be used on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and even LinkedIn.
2. What is a hashtag used for?
A hashtag helps to cluster all the messages related to that term in one place. Essentially it makes the term or the keyword searchable. Searching for a hashtag on a particular social media platform will show all the top posts that use the hashtag as search results.
So if you searched for #SMB in tweeterTwitter, all the tweets related to SMB will show up as Twitter search results. The same is true for other platforms like Instagram,
Pinterest Pinterest etc.
3. What are the Do’s and Don’ts of a hashtag?
a. A hashtag must immediately be followed by the key term that you want to use. Don’t keep a space between the hashtag and the word or between the words.
For example, if you want to use Social Media put #SocialMedia as collectively one word with no spaces between them. It may be a good idea to capitalize the S of Social and M of Media, so that reader can separate this easily while reading, although it is not a mandatory thing. #socialmedia is just a popular as #SocialMedia
b. After every hashtag leave a space. So if you intend to use multiple hashtags, for example, #SocialMedia, #SMB remember to use #SocialMedia #SMB.
c. Keep a space before the hashtag symbol and between two different hashtags. E.g. In the above example, there must be a space before #SocialMedia as well as a space between #SocialMedia and #SMB
d. On Twitter, facebook logoFacebook and LinkedIn logo limit your usage of the hashtag to 1 or 2 per message. Don’t clutter it with too many hashtags. The only exception to this rule is Instagram instagram where it is a norm to use lots of hashtags, though 30 is the upper limit even on Instagram.