No doubt, most of you know about and maybe use hashtags on various social media sites. Hashtags are signified by putting the pound sign (#) in front of a word or phrase. Adding this sign turns the word or phrase (typed without spaces) into a link on most social media sites.
The benefit is the link that the hashtag creates. If you click on this link, the site will pull up a list of all the posts that include that hashtag. It’s a way to quickly find more information on that topic and see what other people are saying about it. Here is an example of part of a hashtag search for the measles on Twitter:
Current sites that utilize hashtags:
- Google +
Hashtags are utilized by social media users in a few different ways:
- People use them to link to and find information on current events and trending topics. For example, during the protests in Ferguson, MO in 2014, the hashtags “#Ferguson”, “#DontShoot” and “#BlackLivesMatter” were widespread in order to share videos, information and news stories in real time. Even major news sources followed these tags to get up to date information.
- Some users add hashtags for friendly or comedic effect. It isn’t always intended to link to something. For example, someone might post a photo of themselves with their baby to Instagram and say something like “My baby and I. #isntshethecutest”.
- Some people start hashtags to keep track of family events, groups or clubs. A family reunion might start a hashtag called #JohnsonsReunion2015. If everyone that goes to the reunion uses that hashtag when posting photos or updates about it, everyone else in that family can easily find them.
Whole Foods capitalized on the popularity of the superbowl by using #BigGame on Instagram
How Businesses can use Hashtags:
- Businesses can use hashtags to attract more followers and potential customers. Think of them as similar to keywords on your website. Find out what people are searching for in your business category and add content and hashtags around it! If you are a garden center in March, you might add hashtags about #springbeauty and #springbulbs or #gardenseason2015.
- Similarly to the family reunion example above, businesses can use hashtags to help people find information on events being held or special sales. If you run social media contests, hashtags are a great way to spread the word.
- Businesses can take advantage of trending hashtags (Both Twitter and Facebook provide lists of popular hashtags on their homepages). If a popular hashtag is at all relevant to your business, create a post around it! It is possible to gain more followers and attention since more people are searching for this topic.
- Encouraging followers and customers to use the hashtags you create can be a great way to spread the word about your business around social media, as well.
If you have more questions or thoughts on these topics, come chat with us!