What is a hashtag and what is it for?

So a hashtag looks like this, #, it’s a social media tagging system used for categorising content, and enables both people inside and outside of your network to view your content.

So what happens when you click on a hashtag?

Well the first thing it does is to help others who are interested in a certain topic quickly find content on that subject. Hashtags are tricky things, get it right and it will help increase the reach of your messages. Get it wrong and you are in danger of either alienating your audience or becoming invisible.

Make sure you choose the right hashtags and the right number!

Hashtags on different social media platforms:

Twitter you have limited characters so make your hashtags count! Arguably 1 to 2 hashtags on twitter are sufficient as research has showed they have the greatest penetration.
Instagram – unlike twitter, on Instagram you are not character limited and the philosophy behind hashtags used on this particular media is the more the merrier.
Facebook – not as commonly used as Twitter and Instagram. Hashtagging on Facebook has never really reached dizzy heights, it is more effective for businesses advertising their services than for general users.

A hashtag selection checklist:

  • Don’t pick a hashtag which is too vague or common
  • Do make sure your hashtag is correctly spelt
  • Consider the length of your hashtag on twitter
  • Does your hashtag support your content?
  • Do some research to see how prevalent your chosen tag is?
  • Check to see how much content is out there under your chosen hashtag
  • Check to see how recently your hashtag has been used – people need to be searching for your hashtag.

Happy hashtagging!