Hashtags in Your Social Post – A Beginner’s Guide

Posted on Apr 10, 2014

Hashtags in Your Social Post – A Beginner’s Guide

hashtagWhat are hashtags, and how do we use them, came up this week while with a client. I’m asked this question quite frequently, so I thought I’d provide a brief beginner’s guide:

Hashtags are the # symbol in front of a word or phrase, with no spaces in between, which allow you to track a conversation or topic in social media. You can use the word you create in a sentence or let the hashtag stand alone in your microblog or social network post.  Twitter first proposed the hashtag (and used) in 2007.  Since then, it has become common on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook.

Twitter.  Twitter’s fast-paced universe is the natural place to use hashtags to keep up with topics and trends.  You can incorporate the hashtag into the 140 characters to be part of a sentence, or to stand alone.   For example, if you are researching restaurants featuring local food in San Francisco, you might Tweet, Reading up on the #LocalFood in #SanFrancisco.  Hashtags are generated by users, so check out the conversation happening on a particular subject via hashtag, or launch your own. Twitter offers hashtag-based trends to follow from the home page too.

Instagram.  By using hashtags with your Instagram postings, you create a searchable picture post by the hashtag themes you have used.  You can hashtag your subject, the setting, your username, location, or any other attribute you are interested in using.  If you are launching a promotion for business, consider a custom hashtag for the promotion.  Images from a single business or personal event can be tagged with a specific hashtag for easy reference later, such as #JohnandMarysNapaWedding, or #YourCompany2014SummerPicnic.

Facebook.  When you use a hashtag in a Facebook status update or post, it creates clickable links for you to see other posts and topics carrying those hashtags (based upon sharing settings from the people on Facebook making those posts).  If you would like to search Facebook for a particular hashtag, you can start your search in the Search Bar at the top, entering the hashtag there.  When you search a specific hashtag, it shows you related topics as well as posts using the hashtag. Alternatively, you can use the Facebook URL to search for hashtags, by going to https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/<keyword> – note that in this case, the # symbol is not used.

Google+.  Include a hashtag anywhere in your Google+ posting text to help people find and join the conversation.  Google+ color codes author hashtags versus related topic hashtags:  those used by the author are gray while those offered as related posts are shown in blue.  Google+ will sometimes add a hashtag, even if you have not done so.

How are you using hashtags in your online marketing?  Leave me a comment, I would love to know about your experience. – Maureen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *