Tips and Tricks: Using Hashtags
Hashtags, you know those words that follow a pound sign (#), can seem a bit confusing and unnecessary if you are a rookie in the social media arena. But these short, searchable links are quite effective when communicating online. Therefore, they are an important tool to learn how to use. Plus, they can be a lot of fun! (Just remember, don’t use more than three hashtags in any given post… )
What can be used in a #hashtag?
So what is there to know about the ins and outs of using hashtags? Well, the first thing you need to remember is that you cannot use spaces. Even if the phrase you want to use has multiple words, lump them together without using spaces. For instance, if you want to use the phrase Solutio rocks websites as a hashtag, it would look like #solutiorockswebsites. If you want to differentiate one word from the next, capitalize the words like this, #SolutioRocksWebsites. Capitalizing letters doesn’t change the link. Here are a few more tips on forming hashtags:
- Numbers are allowed so you can post messages like #5TipsOfPottyTraining.
- Punctuation marks are not allowed. This includes commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes.
- No special characters, ampersands, or asterisks.
Also, there is not a list of usable hashtags. Simply place a hash before a series of words,even if it has never been used before. And there you have it. You have created a new hashtag!
When you are using Twitter, you can directly message another user by placing the @ symbol just before their Twitter name. This is not a hashtag, but a way to let another know that you have sent a message via the @Connect tab. So, when you are trying to contact someone, do not use a hashtag. Use the @Connect tab!
Social Media Platforms
Most social media platforms today support the use of hashtags. If you want to know what hashtags are trending on social media in real time check out www.hashtags.org. Here is a list some of the most popular social media sites that use hashtags:
- Twitter is where it all began and therefore hashtags are much more versatile on this platform. Twitter uses hashtags mainly to denote specific topics of conversation.
- Facebook added hashtags in June of 2013. When you click on a hashtag you will be given a list of posts.
- Instagram uses hashtags to complement photos, to find other users and to have others follow you. Vine is used in much the same way.
- Google+ provides search results for a hashtag that is clicked on. It shows the first post using the hashtag as well as results that have similar hashtags. Google+ also gives you the option to search hashtags in Facebook and Twitter.
- Tumblr has a section called “Tag” that functions similarly to hashtags on Twitter, but the # symbol is automatically entered for you and can be searched. But, when a hashtag is used in the main body of your post it does not become a link.
- Pinterest uses hashtags to mark and search for content. If you click on a hashtag in the description, you are taken to results that contain that exact hashtag as well as pins that contain the same word or phrase.
Use for FUN!
Do you enjoy being a bit “cheeky” with your posts? Do you like to convey a bit of sarcasm or humor? Then hashtags will be an asset for your social media posts! Here are some examples of hashtags that use humor and voice:
- A lizard for a pet? #IWouldRatherHaveAFrog
- What an extremely long week! #TGIF
- Watching Cupcake Wars… #hungry
- Sarah Palin for president? #seriously #ICanSeeRussia