Friday, June 27, 2014

Social Media Hashtags

Using hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other Social Media

If you're new to social media marketing, you might be wondering exactly what a hashtag is. So let's tackle that first. A hashtag is a word or phrase that you append to your social media posts that allows users to easily search like-minded content and participate in large format discussions on those various networks. They are always prefixed by a pound “#” sign or a number sign, and usually appear as a link inside the post that they're attached to. This makes it easy for someone to click on that link and access more information or a thread of conversations about that topic.

Hashtags and Social Media
Hashtags and Social Media
Hashtags were first used on Twitter as a way of accessing threads of information and conversations, but have since made their way onto other networks like Facebook and Google+ as well. On Google+, you have the option of tagging your post yourself with hashtags. Or simply letting Google search your content and find relevant keywords and having it append the hashtags to your post for you. If you were to click on any one of these hashtags that's associated with the post it's going to take you to a search page where you can see all of the pages, posts and trending topics related to the hashtag that you clicked on.

Facebook works much the same way that Twitter does. You actually have to manually add the hashtags to your posts in Facebook in order for it to recognize it. If I were to click on that hashtag, it's going to take you to a page where you can see all of the relevant information containing that particular hashtag or posts from the company or person that it's associated with.

So why would we want to use a hashtag in our social media marketing efforts? Well, by using hashtags, you not only can convey your brand message but you can also make your brand become part of a larger conversation. This allows you to participate in discussions with your customers in a much different way and also reach other potential customers that might be searching for that hashtag on a given network.

Hashtags also make your content relevant to issues in real time and allow you to be easily found on social media sites. Take some time to study the trending hashtags that relate to your brand, business, and the content that you're sharing. And then use that as a way of tagging your post to gain more traction across all of your networks.

There are some simple rules to hashtagging. Number 1, when you're hashtagging, never use spaces.  If you need to separate words, use capital letters instead of spaces.
That way you can easily identify each individual word. Adding capitalization does not change the search results for any hashtag. Numbers are definitely okay to use and I would actually encourage you to use them. Punctuation is NOT permitted either in hashtags. That includes periods, exclamation points and semicolons. All of that is off limits inside of hashtags
None of those are allowed inside of hashtags, they just don't work. Hashtags should always be short and sweet and relevant to the post that you're creating. Don't write a hashtag just for the sake of writing it. That just makes you look out of touch. Give your hashtag some context. 

Nobody wants an all hashtag post. They need to know why you're using the hashtags that you're using. So give your content some depth by adding actual text around it, and make sure that people understand why you're using it, when you're using it.

Now you understand how to use hashtags across all of your social networks and why using them can truly help you expand your reach and maximize your social media marketing efforts. 

Steve Steinberger

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