Hashtags. Twitter has used them for quite some time, and now that Facebook has incorporated them, I have many clients asking, “What is a hashtag? Why should I care?”
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is the number symbol (#) followed by a word or series of words specific to a topic (#hashtag). They are similar to the keywords you would use when searching for something in Google, but they are meant for use on social media sites. Hashtags allow you to find specific information in your newsfeed or to share information related to a specific topic. They also appear as links in a post, so you can click on a hashtag and immediately see more posts about the same topic.
Why Should I Care?
If you are currently using social media, you know that your newsfeed (where you see all of the Tweets and Facebook posts from everyone you follow) is often long and intimidating, and trying to read it all can consume a lot of time. Hashtags are a great way to see just the posts about information you want to follow and save you time.
For example, I have clients in the business aviation industry, so when I log on Twitter or Facebook and want to read about things specific to that industry, I will search #bizav (short for business aviation) or #aviation. This helps me focus my social media time to the information that is most important to me at that moment. And when I want to share information with that industry, like a client’s press release, I include those same hashtags in my own social media posts.
Another great way to use a hashtag is during a conference, trade show, or other event. Attendees of the conference can search or follow an event’s hashtag to find out about presentations, parties, or other related activities. Businesses that are participating in the event can also use the hashtag to inform people of their exhibiting booth number, prizes, special offers, or other reasons for attendees to seek them out during the event.
Don’t be intimidated by hashtags. I encourage you to log in to Twitter and Facebook and search for hashtags about topics that interest you, include a hashtag in your own social media posts*, and the next time you attend an event, ask the organizer if they have a hashtag you can follow.
* If you’re using hashtags, be sure to make them short and relevant to a topic people want to know about. For example, #justputtingwordsafterasymbol is not an effective hashtag. If you need help with your social media or coming up with a great hashtag, contact Heiste Communications.