If you're new to the Twitter world you are probably asking yourself this question; "What the h*ll is a hashtag?"
If you place the pound sign # (hashtag) in front of a word, or group of words it becomes a searchable link. This allows you to follow along with a specific type of conversation or take part in it with your own message.
By including #NowPlaying into my tweet above, my tweet will now show up in any search results for for the phrase (hashtag) #NowPlaying.
Use capitals to separate your words in a hashtag, as I have done above to make them easier to read.
You can now use hashtags on several social media platforms including; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.
Let's break down how hashtags work for each of these platforms.
Where the hashtag was born. Twitter hashtags are used to denote topics of conversation. You can also search a specific hashtag to find other relevant tweets on the topic you're looking for. Twitter also pulls "trending" or popular hashtags on the sidebar of your feed, based on your tweets.
This is a relatively new feature for Facebook and has seen a pretty slow take off. By using a hashtag on Facebook, it does link to a stream of posts about that topic but again, the feature is not widely used.
Instagram hashtags are used to describe photos or run contests. Users can track their contest entries and spread the word by creating a specific hashtag as a way for people to enter.
Make your content searchable on Google+ by including a hashtag.
In sharing my blog post above, I included #socialmedia into my description so that my post will be listed under the category of social media when someone is searching for this hashtag or keyword.
Pinterest uses hashtags to allow you to mark and search for content, as well as any pins containing the same word or description.
Now that we've covered all the things hashtags can do for you, it's important to cover what not to do when using hashtags.
Don't overuse. By overusing hashtags you can make your content look cheap and spammy.
Don't Forget to Check. Always check your hashtags to ensure that you're sending the right message. Take for example the epic fail of Britain's Got Talent contestant, Susan Boyle when her team launched the Twitter campaign promoting her new album. They forgot to look at all aspects of the hashtag and selected this: #susanalbumparty. The way people read this was sus-anal-bum-party. Probably not what her team was going for, and bad for her brand; so be careful!
Now that you've got a brief understanding of the hashtag, give it a try and see how it can impact your content.
By: Kate McConney