What the Hashtag?!

The hashtag. You either get it or you don’t, so today I’m going to help you “get it.”

It used to be that the # sign was nothing more than a symbol for “number” or “pound,” and then along came the internet and more specifically, Twitter. whats-a-hashtagWhile the hashtag is used mostly in Twitter, people have always used it in other areas such as Facebook. Up until last year, the hashtag was worthless on Facebook except to have fun, but eventually as they always do, Facebook decided to bring the hashtag into their folds. Suddenly, the little hashtag was all grown up. The hashtag is a very strong way to search for things and trends on Twitter and on the internet, and hashtags are HUGE on Instagram and Tumblr.

What can the hashtag do for you? It can do a lot— believe it or not. Here are some ways you can use the hashtag in your business:

Branding: Create your own hashtag and use it to promote your company or your products and services. It would be ideal if it were specific to you but, if not, it can reference what you or your company does. For instance, if we tweet or post on Facebook something that is related to social media, I might use #SocialMedia or #SMM. Now if anyone searches #SMM on Google or Twitter, G+ or Facebook, there is a greater chance that they will find us in that stream. The key thing to remember is not to use too many characters as they count against your character limit on Twitter.

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Search: Looking for something specific and feel like you’ve exhausted your Google search? Use a hashtag term either on Twitter, Facebook, or a search engine, and you may be surprised what new things you’ll find. This works not just in business, but personal things as well. You can’t turn a show on these days without a hashtag being displayed on the bottom of the screen. Not sure what the “official” hashtag is for something? Google it! “Super Bowl hashtag” will net you the result of #SuperBowl.

Connect: Especially on Twitter, there are a ton of Twitter parties going on about any given topic. Companies are using them as a way to connect with their customers at a level that the customer enjoys – in an informal setting. You can find TweetChats within your industry or to fill any interest you could possibly have. Like country music? Sit in on the #CMchat. Do you specialize in customer service? #CustSvc would probably interest you. I have found so many like-minded, new friends this way.

Hashtags can be a rich resource for connecting and spreading your message. You can even “register” your hashtag (I registered #BWT years ago.) and if you want to see how your hashtag is performing, you can access the analytics at Hashtag.org.
Hopefully this helps clear up any confusion you may have had with hashtags, and you can start using them and getting some results from them! And if you’re already a pro, I would love to hear what your favorite hashtags are!


I originally wrote this post for my business blog!

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