Visit any of the social media platforms and you are sure to stumble upon the ubiquitous “hashtag”. A hashtag is a label or tag used on social media sites to help users easily identify content that interests them. The hash sign (#) converts any word or phrase following it into a link that can be searched. For instance, if you are updating people on the traffic in your city, you can mention it as #TrafficUpdateCityName. Now people can click on this link and read the information. To contribute information they can add the same hashtag before their tweet. So when you hashtag a word on a social media platform all users of the account can see it. Even people who do not follow you, but are a part of the chat, can see your tweets and posts.
Creating a Hashtag
Creating a hashtag is simple but needs a little understanding as a wrong hashtag can lead to confusions. To create a hashtag, include the sign # before the word or words you wish to hashtag.Hashtags do not support spaces, any symbols or punctuations in between words. To distinguish words you can use title case since search keywords are not case sensitive. For instance, to hashtag “new collections for the season” you write #NewCollectionsForTheSeason. However, they do recognize numbers so that you can use them within the phrase.
Twubs.com and Hashtags.orgare two sites where you can register your hashtags.Though it is not mandatory, you can register yourhashtag if the hashtag is vital to your content.Obviously, you cannot own a hashtag by registering it. You cannot even stop anyone from using it. You can only stake a claim to the hashtag, and it adds you to the hashtag directory.
Tracking a Hashtag
You may have no control over a hashtag, but you can definitely track the life of a hashtag with the help of sites like Topsy.com. Use it to check out conversations on the web based on relevance or date. Based on these you can conduct a proper research and trace out a plan to interact with the audience that will serve your business goal. Tagboard helps to keep a track of topics on Instagram, Twitter, app.net and Google+.
Number of Hashtags
To hashtag select keywords that are most pertinent to your business orindustry. A short yet punchy phrase is most likely to end up trending. Remember 1 – 3 hashtags are sufficient per tweet. Too many words hashed can be annoying, and the audience will fail to ferret out its intent.For instance, National Geography tweeted- “Photo of the Day: The Water’s Fine on.natgeo.com/29mUPUT #photography #pod” above one of their wildlife photographs. They have used two hashtags – #photography and#pod – which lead you to two chains of conversations.
Types of Hashtags
Every hashtag has a different purpose to solve. Understanding them can help you figure out the best options for your business.
Trending Hashtags: These are hashtags that are in demand and depends on topics drawing momentum in real time. They are likely to change any time – within days or hours. Google+ has termed such topics as ‘Hot Topics’ while Twitter refers to them as ‘Trending’.To get an idea about the hashtags on Instagram you can check Hashtagig.com. For instance, #fridayfeeling is a trending hashtag. Many brandshave geared up to contribute to it with products and offers linked to the hashtag#fridayfeeling.
Campaign Hashtags: Promote campaigns for events, services or products with these hashtags. Use a unique hashtag that describes your brand precisely. Campaign hashtags can engage people in the promotional activities of events, as well as increase the chances of people attending them.For instance, following the campaign#PutACanOnIt by RedBull, users participated in it by clicking pictures with the Red Bull cans.
Brand: If you are new to the world of hashtags you can start with brand hashtags. In this case, you can hashtag your company name, brand or product. You can even create a different name describing your brand clearly. An ideal brand hashtag is catchy, concise and unique to the brand. Brand hashtags are a permanent fixture, and they rarely change. For instance, Kit Kat uses its punch line “Have a Break” as their hashtag – #HaveABreak.
Content Hashtag: These are meant to directly convey a message to your target audience. These are simple hashtags that are related to your posts. You can use them to improve the SEO of your posts.Well, remember content hashtags can also be used to share happy news or funny updates to involve people. For instance, a bakery owner selling chocolatecakes can tweet #ChocolateCakes to reach out to chocolate cake lovers.
Platforms Supporting Hashtag
Most social media platforms support hashtags.
Twitter: Since hashtags originated from Twitter, they are more flexible on this platform and are used mainly to indicate various subjects of conversation.
Instagram: On Instagram, hashtags can be used to comment on photos, find new accounts and get a new audience.
Google+: By clicking on a hashtag on Google+ you get access to the original hashtag along with all posts containing similar tags and keywords.
Pinterest: When you click on a hashtag in a pin description, you can find pins containing the same hashtag.
Tumblr: They use “tags”, which are similar to hashtags. You can organize all post according to the topics, but the hash sign gets generated automatically.
Facebook: Though hashtags are not very popular with Facebook, a click on a hashtag leads you to content with similar hashtags, which include people outside your friendlist.
Apart from these, other sites like YouTube, Fluidinfo, Catch.com and FriendFeed also use hashtags.
Importance of New and Trending Hashtags
Hashtags allow you to find your target audience and allow the audience to find you and your services. It provides a good opportunity for small businesses as it gives access to a wide audience with similar interests and business ideas. For instance, #seochat on Twitter is a stream of discussion involving people interested in search engine optimization.
Before using a hashtag research a little on the keywords usually people use to make a search related to your product or service. Then use these keywords to create a hashtag to get the most out of it. At the same time, if a specific hashtag related to your product is trending currently, you can immediately jump into the thread of conversation and use the hashtag for your benefit. With Trendmap you can check out popular hashtags in any area.
When you need a hashtag very specific to an event or promotion you can create a new hashtag. Many companies create hashtags to promote upcoming events to involve more people. Even during the event they keep people updated and keep them connected after the event is over.