What are Hashtags and how to use them

Using #hashtags is useful for anyone who is “working” in social media in any capacity

I was talking to a member of Adlandpro and the topic of hashtags came up. It’s funny but when you get so used to  using a “tool” or doing an action, it helps to remember that not everyone has the same knowledge or understanding of certain topics.I still remember seeing this weird # sign with wording on Twitter back in 2007-2008 or so and wondered what they were all about and to be honest in the beginning I was not all that impressed as it seemed silly and and a waste of time as you can see from the very first tweet I ever created.  Times sure have changed and now I understand the importance of using hashtags properly.

tweeting has changed over the years.

A little bit of history for you Chris Messina ( former Google developer and very much a teckie) started the hashtag movement back in August 2007 when he wrote on twitter:

Chris Messina using hashtag for the first time on twitter

WOW!
 The reason Mr. Messina created the hashtag using  the sign# was because it was an easy keyboard character to use on his phone and in his mind it was an easy way to bring people together to talked about the same topic online. The name “hashtag” was created by another person Stowe Boyd and like so many things that happen online, what was a novelty.. become a standard way of communicating online.
…so much for the history of the hashtag.  Now a days as many people are aware that hashtags can be used  for many reasons from fun, sporting events, social awareness and business, yet many people are still confused about what to do with them.

To simplify everything for you, when you use the # in front of a word or group of words it turns into a searchable link. when you create this searchable link you can create your own form of bookmarking ( organizing content), you can track different conversations or discussions. Another  point to note is that  while you can use numbers with words (for example #) you can’t use punctuation marks ( !?,”$* etc.) and never put a space between words as that will break the tag.
While Hashtags may have become popular on Twitter, you can now find them on different platforms as well as other search engines and although you can use the same #hashtag everywhere when it comes to social networks there will always be best practices. Lets take a look at some of them shall we?
#Twitter
When you are limited to 140 Characters, then using hashtags means incorporating them withn your tweet, making your tweet look and be seen more naturally.
Use one to three hashtags at the most per tweet, any more will be seen as TOO MUCH INFORMATION ( or having a serious case of hashtagitis)
#Pinterest
When you realize that people using Pinterest are pinning based on visual apprearence, using relevant hashtags is important to be found
Don’t be vague using hashtags. Think about this one for a moment When you use a vague term such as #marketing, you are going to get lost among all the other people who are sharing similar styles of posts
Use branded tags as this is a great way to identify your brand and product. For example when pinning from Adlandpro, use the hashtags #Adlandpro #Adlandprocommunity etc.
#Facebook
While Facebook is using hashtags, it has been a bit slow in gaining popularity, so my best suggestion is to use them, but keep them relevent to your audience and share them on the different groups you are in. One hashtag that seems to be very popular is #TGIF.. I guess because everyone is glad when friday comes around lol
If you would like to know more about using hashtags on Facebook, Jessica Bedussi wrote a good post Facebook Hashtags: Which Brands Are Using Them Correctly? which offers some gems of wisdom
#Google Plus
Just as you can type in a hasthtag in Google search, you can also use hashtags on Google Plus. The nice thing about using hashtags on G+ is that when you start typing from the “#” wording, Google plus will give you suggestions for the different wording you can use. One piece of advise I can give is to use good hashtags, meaning don’t use tags that have nothing to do with your post, keep your hashtags short in characters, use them for your branding as well as for fun.
Others social networks that use hashtags are Tumblr and Instagram,if you are using these platforms – what best practices are you observing?

There are a few ways to find and identify popular hashtags including

Hashtag.org which is a hashtag tracking site
#tagdef which is a site that helps your find hashtags as well as defining what a hashtag means

use #hashtags with caution

Like anything you will ever do online, there are cautions.. hashtags can take on a life of their own, they can be hijacked or become a problem, so don’t just jump in and use hashtags in ways that were never intended.

 

The Bottom line is that Hashtags can be seen as a visible “meta” data across all platforms, they are easy to use, they are easy to learn and boy are they cheap!

 

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Meet Diane (Blogneta)

Diane Bjorling has written 42 posts in this blog.

Nice to meet everyone, I'm the Adlandpro Blogging Community Admin and here to help you with your blogging needs. If you need anything let me know and I will do all I can to answer your questions or concerns. Just have some fun. Please note only those blogs that meet the guidelines will be published.. thanks :-)

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