What in the World is a Hashtag?

If you are perplexed by the whole #hashtag conundrum don’t worry, you are not alone! The social media world is constantly changing and what once was only found at the end of a Twitter tweet is now seen all over the virtual place – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ to name a few.

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A hashtag is simply a few keywords that are linked together which help the content come up in a search – there are no spaces or characters, only the # sign with letters and/or numbers following.
Here are examples: #CinchShare #Hashtag411 #ThrowBackThursday

Punctuation symbols are not allowed and it’s best to keep the hashtag short and sweet. Using a capital letter to separate the words makes it easier to read but isn’t mandatory. You don’t want to use more than two to three hashtags at a time. It’s simply overkill, gets confusing and takes away from the substance of the topic at hand.

How it Works for Your Business
Hashtags are a great way to increase visibility for your business. Let’s break it down into social media platforms:

Twitter – Hashtags are placed in the “Trends” sidebar of your feed that gathers a list you might be interested in checking out. So, for example, if you were to put #healthyeating on a recipe, that can show up on someone’s sidebar who is following other health related topics. They can then click on it and it will take them right to you where they have the option of following you.

Facebook – When a person clicks on a hashtag in someone’s post they will be taken to a wall showing the most recent posts containing that hashtag – another option for people to follow or friend you.

Pinterest – Create a hashtag in your description so that others may follow you by doing a search in the field at the top of the page. All your pins that have that hashtag will appear for them to view.

Instagram – Gather followers by using a hashtag on your photos. Simply by clicking on a hashtag, a user is given a selection of images that have the same hashtag. This is the only platform that you can get away with a few more hashtags. I wouldn’t use more than 5 to 8.

Google+ – Hashtag results appear on the right side. They do automatically assign a hashtag to your content so you have to change your settings if you’d like to manually create your own. People can click on your hashtags and then add you to their circles.

Hashtags are a great way to generate buzz when you’re promoting an event or contest. You should use the same hashtag on all related marketing material. Remember to keep it short and related to the content. It’s easy to create a TextClip with your hashtags so you don’t need to keep retyping them.

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