Hashtags are everywhere on social media and blogs, and I know that most of you who have already joined the ROCK YOUR DIGITAL Community, appreciate what hashtags are, but for those of you who have succeeded in avoiding social media, or are only just starting to use it and now want to get onboard, this post is for you! 🙂
A little hashtag 101
Hashtags are essentially metadata tags or keywords/phrases without spaces and include a # in front e.g. #RockYourDigital. Use of hashtags became popular on Twitter and since then they have been adopted by users on other social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and more.
When you include a hashtag in a post on a site, those tags become clickable links which will display a list of all public posts on that site which include that hashtag. Here’s an example of one of my own posts on Twitter;
— Kirsten Thompson (@_KirstenT) March 4, 2015
Why use hashtags?
Hashtags serve many purposes, for example;
- They make your posts more searchable and discoverable by others, interested in the same topic.
- Hashtags are used as a shorthand; this is really useful on platforms like Twitter where tweets can only contain a limited number of characters.
- Sometimes they are simply used for humour e.g. #DontTellMom or #HappyMonday (if used in a sarcastic manner – context in use of hashtags, is important).
- Create a backchannel and gain feedback on a course or an event e.g. most conferences have a hashtag now, so you can find other people talking about the event online, connect with them and start a conversation.
- Build a community e.g. invite people to use a hashtag you have created when they post, so other community members can easily see what other members have to say, and can find resources they are sharing. They are also used in some communities as a chance to be featured by the community owner/facilitator e.g. to get featured on an Instagram account with a huge following. For tips on planning your own hashtag, check out this post; How to choose a hashtag for your community.
- Hashtags can also be used to support research and social listening e.g. learn more about the people you are targeting, whether you’re online because you want to increase your visibility and build your network, or you are researching your ideal client (avatar). Searching for the keywords that relate to your reason for being online can help you find your community and can also identify the pain points or challenges of your avatar, so you can deliver content to better serve your community.
- Have a hashtag for live chats e.g. Twitter chats. This approach filters out all the other posts using your main hashtag and makes it easier for people to both participate in the live chat and catch up on a Twitter chat if they missed it.
How do you (or plan to) make use of hashtags?
Let me know in the comments, below.