What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is simply a keyword or short phrase used in a tweet or post.  It starts with the (#) pound sign and is followed by the specific word or phrase (ie:  #socialmedia, #weddingplanning).

A #hashtag marks a post as part of that particular conversation so it is categorized on the social media site.  When users call up that specific #hashtag, your tweet or post will show in seach results.

#Hashtags can be used for a multitude of reasons including  following conversations, keeping track of conference information or specific events, and soliciting information on a specific topic.

Be careful when using hastags in posts.  They can not include any spaces.  For instance:    #CruiseShip does not equal #Cruise Ship.

What social media sites use hashtags?

#Hashtags originated and have become embedded into Twitter culture and are an important part of optimizing your use on Google+.  I have heard rumblings that LinkedIn is using them but have not seen that yet. Facebook just introduced the use of Hashtags to posts.  

The Do’s and Don’ts of using #Hashtags:

Do:

  • When shouting out your blog posts and articles, always #Hashtag them with your keywords.
  • You can use a hashtag anywhere in your tweet or post.
  • Hashtags should be concise.  If you are using a longer hashtag #PutTheFirstWordsInCaps to at least make it readable.
  • Always search on a #Hashtag before you use it.  Make sure that other tweets using the #Hastag are related to yours.
  • Frequently search on your hashtags and respond to others using the same ones.  This is a great way to become part of a conversation and pick-up a few followers.
  • Define your tweet on a website such as Tagdef.com.

Don’t:

  • Use more than 2 hashtags in each tweet.
  • Don’t be too #hashtag happy:   #Dont #stuff #yourtweet – it looks spammy
  • There are some common #hashtags, #caturday for instance.  Use a common hashtag and you may not stand out in a crowd.
  • Start using new hashtags that no one is going to search on.