How to Use Hashtags

Everywhere you look on social media or on advertising pieces the #hashtag is being used! I often receive the questions, “What is a hashtag? Why do people use hashtags? When do you use hashtags?” The hashtags are a little confusing, but let’s try to clear the air.

Hashtags are clickable phrases that can be added into a post to make the phrase searchable or to extend the conversation. For example, the hashtag #TBT has become super popular lately. It stands for “Throw Back Thursday.” Individuals post pictures of the past and tag the image with the hashtag #TBT. Or, if you go to an event such as a conference, sports game, or concert there may be a specific hashtag for the event. If people tag their post with the specified hashtag, they can participate in the conversation about the event. For example, if you were posting about the Badgers in the Final Four, you may have tagged your post with the hashtag #NCAAFinalFour.

Hashtags originated on Twitter. But now you can use hashtags on other social channels, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Hashtags are easy to use, but they do have a few rules. A hashtag always starts with the # symbol, followed by letters or a combination of letters and numbers. You cannot have any spaces in your hashtag.

You can either create your own hashtag or use a hashtag that already exists. A hashtag can be placed in the body or at the end of the message. Also, it’s a good idea to keep the hashtags short, especially if it is used on Twitter.

One thing not to do is create a post where #every other #word includes a hashtag which #makes it #very difficult #for users #to read! Or, in other words, try not to use more than two hashtags in a message.

Try using a hashtag in your next post. You may find that it puts a #smile on your face!

If you have any questions about hashtags, contact me, Shelly at Woo! Social Media Marketing. I would be happy to help!