(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.“spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”
the hash or pound sign (#).“Hunt mistook an @ for a hashtag while tweeting derogatory thoughts about him”
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Social Media Basics: Hashtags
Dale Griffen R.N.Social Media Strategist and Author | VP @ The Go! Agency | Social Business Consultant
If you’re new to the social media frontier, you should know right now that the word “hashtag” is going to be used a lot. If you look around on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites, you’ll see a word being prefaced by what used to be called the pound sign back in the days of landline telephones.
For example, you might see something like #SpringBreak2016 on pictures uploaded by college kids down in Panama City Beach, FL. For, let’s say a nursing home, you might see something like #seniorliving so that their readers know they work with seniors.
In a nutshell, they are keywords. If a person searches for Spring Break 2016, or senior living, posts will come up in the results that have those hashtags. They’re the unique words that define your posts and, in essence, what you or your business stands for. They will bring attention to your social media accounts and most likely attract followers.
Now, there are some rules when using hashtags. They can be powerful tools but can backfire if done incorrectly.
Here are some guidelines you might find helpful:
- Do not be too vague. Let’s say you’re the nursing home from above. #seniorliving is a great hashtag that can bring followers from multiple walks of life. However, #living, would be too broad of a word to get anybody’s attention.
- Do not use too many. A nice rule of thumb is not to use more than three hashtags. If you have many keywords that you think apply to your business, switch them up! Variety is important for success in social media and hashtags are no exceptions.
- Research. Search on your website of choice to see if your hashtag is actually being used by others. #MothersDay is popular but #GiftsforMothersDay2016 might not produce better results.
As you can see, hashtags can be a great way to bring attention to your accounts. It’s important that they’re done correctly, however once you have the hang of it, it will come naturally.