What is a #Hashtag?
What is a #hashtag? A hashtag is a short link proceeded by the (#) sign. A hashtag can be a single word or multiple words. They do not like spaces, so when writing a multiple word hashtag, run the words together (#Chicagofire). If you want to differentiate the words, you can capitalize each word (#ChicagoFire). Can you tell I am a fan of #ChicagoFire? Neither version will alter the results you seek, and using either version will come back with the same search results. Hashtags can accommodate numbers (#bond007) but not punctuation or special character, so leave out the commas, dashes, periods and any special characters like the money sign ($) or ampersand (&).
The hashtag was invented by Chris Messina in 2007. He proposed to Twitter that they use the hashtag to create “groups”. Twitter turned him down, the reason being “too nerdy”. Boy were they proven wrong. No longer just found on Twitter, they are now prevalent on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Flikr.
This is the simple way I like to explain what a hashtag is when coaching a new client. Let’s say I want to post a great cake recipe I have and want to share it with others, get their feedback and see if they also have some great cake recipes as well. Since Twitter doesn’t have chat rooms, a hashtag essential acts as a place where people can all gather/tweet about cake. So, if I type #ilovecake in the search field, it will take me the place where I can find what everyone said or posted under the #ilovecake hashtag. This saves me from endless hours of looking through my feed for references to cake.
This is what my tweet would look like when composed using the #ilovecake hashtag.
This is what it looks like in the #ilovecake Twitter feed.
Some tips to keep in mind when using hashtags.
1.) If you are going to use hashtags, use 2-3 at most. You want your consumer to have something to focus on that they can discuss. Your goal is for people to join in a conversation with you. Also, people tend to act on the first two hashtags. The click thru rate tends to drop significantly for hashtags #3, 4 and 5.
2.) There is no preset list of hashtags. You can put a # sign before any word to create a hashtag and if it’s not in use, you just created a new hashtag. Good job! Now give yourself a pat on the back.
3.) There will always be hashtags that are popular and can be used to help your business join the conversation and get some notice. One such hashtag is Throw Back Thursday (#ThrowBackThursday) or (#TBT). As I stated above, you can use capital or lowercase letters for any hashtag. Either way will produce the same search results.
4.) Tweets with hashtags get double the engagement as tweets without. Remember, 2-3 at most in a tweet, post, ect.
5.) Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be tweeted. That’s a darn good percentage.
In a future post, we will cover ways to analyse how to find the best hashtag to utilize, which hastags are popular and which hastags are overused. There are sites that can help with that.
Now fire up your Twitter account and try your first #hashtag. I think their like potato chips, you can’t just post one and you might just have some fun.
Here at Chatter Squirrel Social Media Solutions, we love #hashtags like we love potato chips. Do you need help with your social media, we’re here for you. In addition to social media, we offer blogging, newsletter and email marketing services.
Call us today, 888-655-5858 to find out how Chatter Squirrel can make your business the “Chatter of the Town”.