The # sign, a symbol that for most of time has been called a “pound sign” and has meant number, has recently had a transformation of meaning. #Hashtag, a somewhat familiar phrase, for most people engaging in the social media world has taken on a life of its own in the past few years. Although most people know what this symbol means, quite a few of them don’t really understand how or when to use it.
Starting out just as a Twitter feature, the #Hashtag symbol is now being used by LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook. It has become a casual social media activity for users.
So what exactly is the #Hashtag? A #Hashtag turns words and phrases into a searchable link. It helps users discover new topics based on the key word that is hashtagged. Creating a #Hashtag is simple and has many benefits. Simply type the “#” sign and then your topic or phrase. Make sure there are no spaces between words! Whichever social network you decide to post your #Hashtag to, it then becomes a searchable link. All of the posts on that specific social network with that same #Hashtag will be searched. Say for example you post about your recent biking trip on the Brandywine River trails. You may #Hashtag something like…
“Just got back from an awesome trip biking at the Brandywine! #Biking #Brandywine #Summertrips”
This gives users an opportunity to click and search the keywords you have chosen for your post.
An important tip for creating #Hashtags is to create a relatively unique # topic. When some people create #Hashtags like, #Justsaying or #Livinglife, it simply means they are just adding phrases to their posts to save time and space. These are completely irrelevant and although you can click and search these, they will most likely come back with meaningless results. There are quite a few practical uses for the # symbol though. Articles that have been posted, discovering a new place, searching a restaurant, or prospecting conversations on your social networks are practical ways to #.
The best place to click and search using #Hashtags is definitely Twitter. It is the most public form of social media and you can discover the most content by clicking on a #Hashtag. LinkedIn has become useful due to the increase in having more users being business focused. Google+ has a lot of content to search but not very many active users right now. Lastly, Facebook has started recently using #Hashtags and may have the most meaningful results to you. This is due to the fact that users are in your network so the topics will be geared towards your interests and social communities. Besides this though, it could potentially have low results due to copious privacy settings. If the post is public anyone can see the #hashtag but if the post is private then only those that are allowed to see the #hashtag will benefit from the clickable #hashtag.
#Hashtags can be a great feature to use in your social networks. They are becoming increasingly more popular and relevant for most social media users. Jump on the #Hashtag bandwagon and start “#”ing your thoughts and ideas! #clickandsearch!