The hashtag ( # ) is one of the more misunderstood terms and techniques used on social media. When I hear someone talk about how the don’t understand Twitter, the first thing I ask is if they know what a hashtag is and how use them. Most often, they will respond ’No’. So for those who don’t understand hashtags, how to use them, and why you should use them; here is a crash course.
A hashtag is simply the # sign, which is now commonly called the hash symbol, it has also gone by the name pound sign or number sign. Many people will also combine the symbol with the word or joined words after the symbol when they are referring to a hashtag, such as #consolidatedtelcom, #blog, or #blogpost. This is how a keyword or phrase the people or companies include with their social media posts make it more accessible. The hashtag keyword is the main search term for the post when people do a search.
Hashtags are as unique as the person creating the social media post, but with some boundaries. To create hashtag, start with the hast symbol, #. Then enter your word or phrase directly after it. You cannot include any spaces or symbols. If you want to separate out words such as #ConsolidatedTelcom, use capitalization instead. You may use numbers, however. You may insert a hashtag anywhere in the post, but it is recommended that if the word or phrase does not fit in the sentence, leave the hashtag to the end. Also, over long hashtags or a Twitter post with to many hashtags can turn people (and search engines) off.
Keep in mid that the @ symbol does something completely different and is not be confused with a hashtag. Using the @ before a person’s Twitter handle or Facebook name will let them know you have written about them. A hashtag will not.
Most social media platforms support hashtags, but not all users will use them on particular sites. Twitter, the site that started the hashtag, gets its power from the hashtag. Twitter is a global conversation between everyone and to find the niche conversation for you, you need to use and include hashtags. However, using more than two or three will just be spamming. Facebook does support but users rarely use hashtags. The excessive use of hashtags is overlooked on Instagram as long as you post them at the end. Tumblr, Pinterest, Googe+, YouTube, Kickstarter, and Vine also support their use, but on varying degrees.
If you venture beyond the Facebook realm, make sure you pay attention, search by, and are ready to post with hashtags. Your social experience will be much richer for it.