What exactly IS a Hashtag? #?
Is perhaps the question I get asked most frequently. Followed closely by, how do I use it and why would I want to? I'm going to tackle ALL three questions in this week's Diva Blog.
- What is a Hashtag? In layman's terms it is the number sign (#) used at the front of a word or phrase in social media posts as a way to 'bookmark' that word or phrase so that it is then linked with other social media posts and grouped together.
- How do I use it? You simply place the Hashtag in front of a word or phrase (take out the spaces for a phrase) and Voila you have a hashtag.
- Why would I use a Hashtag? A lot of people search for content via the hashtag. I can hear you saying, but I don't. True. That doesn't mean others don't. Also, when people perform searches on Twitter or Facebook, your hashtag - if part of their search - will be listed among the results. Which can allow people who hadn't previously heard of you, or your company a chance to interact, become followers, and then clients or customers.
The point of social media is so varied, but the main idea is to attract followers. The Hashtag is a simple, free, and easy way to do that.
- OK...What do I hashtag? This can be tricky. I think it's a great idea to brainstorm 5 hashtags to use (not all at once) in your social media posts. 1 branded hashtag - which would be your business, or the initials of your business ex: #SocialNetworkingDiva or #SND, another hashtag defining what you do ex: #SocialMediaForBusiness #BeTheDiva #Coaching and then 3 evergreen hashtags that other people are probably learning #Learning #SocialMedia #SmallBusiness.
If you create these hashtags in advance, you aren't left scratching your head when you post.
- Don't hashtag whole sentences. A hashtag is supposed to be used so you are findable by others looking for the topic you are posting about. #IhadahugedinnerfeelikeIamgoingdodie is a No-No. It's clumsy, bulky, and worst of all makes it look like you don't know what you're doing.
- Capitalize the first word of each word in a hashtagged phrase. It's easier to read.
- 2-3 hashtags within a post or at the end of a Facebook or Twitter post are good. Anymore and they become ineffective.
- Go Hashtag crazy on Instagram. Heck, you can post your image caption, then go back in the comments and do a paragraph of hashtags.
- Instagram shows you how many people are using your hashtag as you write it. When you start use the # then start typing the word and underneath your word a list of possible words with the number of posts containing that hashtag will pop up. Pretty handy.
- While not a hashtag technically, always add Tags to your Wordpress and YouTube posts, they work in the same way and help people find your content.
- There really is no 'stealing' a hashtag, so if you see something is trending AND it fits in your wheelhouse USE IT!
- EVERY Social Media site has hashtags now. Use them.
- Hashtagify.me is a nice place to get a glimpse on the popularity of your proposed hashtag and its off shoots. It's a good place to get ideas and refine your 5 branded hashtags.
I hope that cleared up the confusion about hashtags. Just for laughs - here's a link to Jimmy Fallon's Hashtag skit. Have fun!
Until next time,
Don't forget to be Awesome!