I get a lot of questions about hashtags, so here are my answers:
What are they?
Simply put hashtags are words preceded by the pound sign (#). Once you post a hashtag to a social media platform, let’s say Twitter, that word or phrase becomes a searchable link. One business that I work with uses #running often in their posts. Anyone who is searching for information on running has the potential to see this particular post in their quest for content on this subject.
Should I be using them?
Hell yes! You want your business to be as searchable as the next gals. If someone is in the market for #balloons for their daughter’s 1st birthday party, you want them to see you’re Instagram post where you used #balloons rather than go to your competitor who isn’t hip to the hashtag game.
Which ones should I be using?
Use ones that fit your business and come up with a signature hashtag - your own that you have invented. Promote the heck out of it and encourage your followers to use it too. The one I’m using for the Manhattan Beach 10K Run is #MB10K
How many do I use?
It’s dependent upon the social platform. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so utilize that space wisely. Facebook and Instagram don’t have a limit, but you don’t want to overload people with hashtags and come off looking spammy and have people getting lost in the myriad of #####s. My general rule-of-thumb is to always use 1 and try not to use more than 5.
What characters can I use - are some not allowed?
- All the ABCs and 123s! Ex: #music2work2
- Any special characters will not work. Ex: !@#$%^
- Do not put spaces between words or phrases. Ex: #throwbackthursday
- You can use capital letters if you like but they don’t affect the searchabilty of the tag. Ex: #MCM = #mcm
Just for kicks...
Sometimes I see a hashtag and have no idea what it means, so here's a place you can go if you find yourself in the same boat. #yolo :)
Image credit: Petit Louis via Flickr
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