In August 2007, Chris Messina, a social technology expert, sent a tweet on Twitter that contained a character which would revolutionise the way people wrote social media updates going forward. His simple use of the # symbol started a trend, which, almost 10 years later, shows no sign of abating.
Nowadays, hashtags are no longer limited to just Twitter, and we often use them across the various social networks that are out there. But while you don’t have to use a hashtag in every update you post, by not doing so you could be missing out on free, additional exposure.
With a simple, yet smart hashtag, your updates have the potential to be seen by audiences that they might not have otherwise reached.
That’s why you should look to use one wherever possible. However, that doesn’t mean to say your social media updates should be littered with them. Quite the opposite, in fact.
How to use hashtags effectively
Utilising hashtags is as simple as placing the ‘#’ symbol before a keyword or phrase (with no spaces or punctuation) in one of your social media posts. Other users will then be able to find your update should they perform a search for that particular hashtag. They’re particularly effective when live events are occurring and you want your posts to be seen in a timely fashion.
For example, you may hear people talking about trending hashtags and that refers to social media updates that are being published in relation to a newsworthy event.
Here are a few quick hashtag tips:
- Keep them short and sweet
- #Don’t #over #hashtag #a #single #update
- Use hashtags only when the update is relevant to the tag
- Don’t forget that people can search by hashtags, so if you don’t want an update to be found (for whatever reason) don’t use a hashtag
Not sure which are the best hashtags for your industry? Use a tool like Hashtracking to gain some valuable insights. They offer a free trial and a range of plans to suit a wide range of needs/budgets.
Finally, if you can think up a quirky and easy-to-remember hashtag, there’s a chance it could go viral and that’s social media gold. Chances are though that you’ll find a hashtag exists for most topics – no matter how obscure they might be.