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What #Hashtags Are All About

The word Hashtag appearing behind torn brown paper.

The days of the old-fashioned pound sign are long gone – the “#” symbol has been elevated to a new role. Let’s start with the basics.

A hashtag is a keyword or phrase, prefixed by a pound sign (#), written with no spaces in between. An example would be #learningabouthashtags. The purpose of a hashtag is to create a thread, bringing together conversations on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. A hashtag can be placed anywhere in the post, beginning, middle, or end.

If you click on a hashtag in a particular message or post, you will see a list of posts with the same hashtag. This enables social media users to connect based on common topics, or rally around certain events, television shows, political issues, etc. In a way, an effective hashtag creates a community online. You can also search a particular hashtag in the search bar on certain social platforms. This provides another way for users to search and follow trending topics.

It’s important to know that on Facebook not all hashtags will be visible, as users have the option to keep their hashtagged updates private. Another thing to keep in mind is that although hashtagged content shared from other platforms work on Facebook, the results will vary. For brands that post hashtagged content on Instagram then cross-promote the same thing on Facebook, fans clicking the hashtag on Facebook will only be able to view conversations shared on Facebook. More simply stated, hashtag results are separate on each platform.

When properly used, hashtags can be a powerful social media tool for business promotion and trend tracking. Many businesses already take advantage of this tool by creating hashtags for certain events and promotions, encouraging consumers to interact with the brand online. The fact that hashtags are so easily tracked makes them appealing to brands, along with the opportunity offered to maintain consistent branding messages.

Now that we’ve laid out the basics, here’s a tip on how to get started. Create a hashtag that’s relevant to your brand, unique enough to cut through the clutter, but simple enough that your fans can easily use it. #hopethathelps and #goodluck!

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