Hashtags are, quite simply, a phrase or word preceded by a pound symbol that identifies content of a specific topic. Hashtags are used frequently on social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. They can be an effective method of grouping Tweets and posts around a particular topic.
The proper use of hashtags is extremely beneficial for businesses trying to spread the word of a product or service.
The Many Uses of Hashtags
Hashtags are similar to keywords in that search engines, potential customers, and internet users use them to search for content. A major difference though, is that hashtags can be basically anything. They offer people a way to spread content without having to worry so much about search engine optimization.
Right now hashtags are primarily used on social media but other sites such as Youtube and Gawker are adding the feature to the comment sections. In July of 2012 Twitter added a feature called cashtags where users can precede a stock ticker symbol with a dollar sign making the symbol clickable. This allowed people to find posts and discussions about a company and their stocks.
The term bashtag was also created for people to criticize companies and describe instances of poor customer service or bad situations.
Hashtags can be a powerful marketing tool when used correctly. There are tools available online that analyze different elements of a hashtag like demographics, reach, and popularity. This kind of monitoring is especially useful when researching hashtags for a marketing campaign. Content can be created around popular tags to help promote products, blog posts or tweets. The popularity and usage of a specific tag will change over time, but following trends can give marketers the opportunity to pinpoint the best time to share content.
There are also productivity tools that analyze content and suggest the best hashtags to use. Knowing which tag to use and when to use it can be the difference between millions of people seeing your content and content just staying among followers.
Hashtag abuse is not uncommon and should be avoided. Each social media platform has their own rules regarding abuse. Adding hashtags to unrelated content, repeated posting without adding anything to the conversation, and posting content with misleading links are all ways to get removed from search filters or have an account suspended. Learning and using proper etiquette is pretty simple and should prevent any negative consequences.
Hashtags are quickly becoming an indispensable tool for sharing through social media. They are a simple but extremely effective way of spreading the word about whatever it is you want to share with the world.
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