#Hashtag this, hashtag that, but what is a hashtag?
We get asked this all the time, so here is the first installment of our quick look guide into what the hashtag or # actually is, why we use them and how to make them.
So what is it? Well first off, lets show you some in action.
A Hashtag on TWITTER… #website and #education
— Richards whY-us? (@whyuscouk) July 24, 2014
Now let’s have a look at a Hashtag on GOOGLE+… As you can see, the hastags used in the example below are #education and #websites but Google have also included 1 label as a default in the top right corner… #education. This is to indicate that a hashtag has been used and if you hover over the greyed out hashtag, it will display all other hashtags in the status updates.
But did you know that FACEBOOK also uses hashtags now… and in a similar way to Twitter, it just highlights within the main message or status update.
What is a Hashtag for?
A hastag is a topic of interest. By adding a hashtag # before a word e.g. #marketing (or series of words e.g. #marketingsupport), the hashtag will become a clickable link, therefore highlighting it’s existence and demonstrating to the viewer that the person writing the update specifically wants to bring that word or topic to your attention.
When you click on that word, it will show you all other status updates on that platform that contain exactly the same hashtag topic.
So what is the point? Well by creating a specific topic, it means that anyone searching for that specific topic can see all the people that have typed the specific hashtag topic. That means you are in a perfect environment to start discussing that topic live as Social Media is real time and engage in conversation there and then.
How to make a Hashtag
So now we recognise them and understand what they do, lets see how we create a hashtag topic. Here’s a simple list of rules to help you start using hashtags for your business.
- A hashtag can be either 1 word such as #websites or a series of words that have no spaces in between them e.g. #fifaworldcup
- A hashtag can also contain words and numbers e.g. #fifaworldcup2014
- A hashtag cannot contain punctuation e.g. #worldcup2014!
- A hastag is considered a topic, therefore you use the # to highlight a particular topic in your status update (tweet, post etc).
- A hastag can be used anywhere in the status; the beginning, the middle or the end.
- Anyone can create or type a hashtag, as you are writing your status or post update.
- When you use a hashtag, it will become ‘clickable’. That means another viewer can click on the hashtag word and if for example you are on Twitter, it will display all other tweets (generally anywhere in the world), that contains the same hashtag phrase. The same happens on Google+ and Facebook.
- It is generally considered you should use no more than 2 hashtags in a status or post update. This is because the message can become confusing or uneasy on the eye to read if you have several.
- Hastags on Twitter are also used as a way of shortening a topic or topic phrase. As Twitter will only let you post 140 characters in a tweet, using a long hastag such as #shoutnetworkjointmeeting will take up 25 of those characters, meaning you only have space for another 115 characters to make up the rest of your tweet. To avoid this, you can abbreviate the topic e.g. #SNJM
- Letters within your hashtag can be in uppercase or lowercase text or both. Though remember unless you are abbreviating, capitals may be considered to be shouting.
Don’t miss the next update where we will be talking in more detail about how to benefit from hashtags. Enter your email below to make sure you don’t miss it!
whY-us? specialise in Social Media for Business. To book your 1:1 training session on using Social Media for Business, click here and we will introduce you to concept, advantages, disadvantages, tips and tricks and understands the value of LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook for businesses.
Written By Richard Singleton