Hashtags For Beginners

After I published my last articles Tweetdeck Power Hacks and Which hashtag should I use? I was inundated with messages and comments on my Facebook page from followers confessing that they really don’t understand hashtags. I feel guilty for skipping a step so here we go with my latest article hashtags for beginners … Feel free to contact me if you need further clarification.

What Is A Hashtag?

Firstly this is a hashtag # .Hashtags began over at Twitter but swiftly developed on other social media and online platforms.  In 2007, developer Chris Messina was the first to suggest that Twitter should begin grouping topics using the hash symbol although this idea was initially rejected. However following this, the first hashtag #SanDiegoFire was used to provide Twitter updates on a San Diego forest fire and hashtagging was born.

Hashtags allow us to find the subjects and people we want to follow and in turn find the ones we want as followers. For example, by using the hashtag #socialmedia I am more likely to attract followers who will be interested in my work. If I am travelling to Italy on vacation I could search #Venice or #Italy to find the latest news, photos and travel tips before I visit.

Why Do We Use Hashtags?

We use hashtags in social media for a number of reasons but the main ones are:

1. To identify subjects and people we want to follow

2. To create campaigns and manage events

3. To gain followers with similar interests to ourselves

4. To join popular conversations

5. To find out what the social world is talking about

How Do We Use Hashtags?

Hashtags are used immediately before the word you want to write or search for with no space or punctuation in between. For example #hashtag #photooftheday #fridayfunday if these are the subjects you want to discuss or highlight. In the search fields of most social sites you can enter the hashtag and word and hit enter to see what pages, groups, public individuals are discussing about that topic. Most social platforms now tell you which subjects are trending (popular) so you can jump into the conversations or start your own on that hashtag. If you are entering a popular hashtag on some sites- for example G+ or Twitter you may find that it is already listed and then you can simply choose from the dropdown provided. 

How Not To Use Hashtags

Hashtags will not work with spaces, punctuation (exclamation, comma, question marks. If you want to turn your hashtag into a question then leave a space after it. For example Are You Enjoying #throwbackthursday ? Using capital letters, however, is fine so you could write #CharliSays and it will work just as well as #charlisays would do. Numbers and currency symbols are supported too so if you are working in finance then you can incorporate them so for example #GBP50 would be just fine. It is generally considered ineffective to use too many hashtags in one sentence as it can make your post or tweet difficult to read. Therefore a sentence such as “Great #weekend #surfing with #friends on #BondiBeach” is not ideal.

I hope my article helped you to start experimenting – feel free to tweet me @charli_says using hashtag #charlisayshashtags