Hashtags: What They Are, Why You Need Them, and How To Use Them

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Hashtags: What They Are, Why You Need Them, and How To Use Them

Hashtags used to be your phone’s pound sign, or the sharp symbol in written music, even a tic-tac-toe game. Now they have an extremely prominent place in social media. The word “hashtag” has infiltrated our vocabulary so completely that it has been added to the Oxford  Dictionary and the Scrabble Dictionary, both respected authorities on what defines a real word.) Originally made popular by Twitter, hashtags are now used on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. They are an integral part of how we communicate online.

Where Did Hashtags Come From?

The first use of a hashtag in social media is attributed to Chris Messina, a former Google employee who worked as a designer on Google+.

What Are Hashtags And Why Do You Need Them?

Let’s start with the simple definition:

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used in a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Hashtags are the most popular means of categorizing content on social media.

  • Hashtags turn words and phrases into searchable links, making it easy to find content.
  • Hashtags are used to group and organize posts about particular topics.
  • Hashtags are used to help people find topics that are similar and participate in discussions that are important to them.

Why use hashtags?

There are a number of reasons why you want to use hashtags in social media.

  • Whenever you add a hashtag to your post, it’s indexed by the social network and becomes searchable by other users. Once someone clicks on that hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page that collects all of the posts with the same hashtags, in real-time.
  • People do research by searching on specific hashtags, thus they help you get found by your target audience.
  • Hashtags can be used to create visibility for your company on social media platforms.
  • Hashtags can be used to monitor your company or your products on social media.
  • Hashtags can be used to categorize your posts according to a topic.

What Can A Small Business Do When It Comes To Marketing With Hashtags?

  • Discover the hashtags popular in your industry so you can use them too and get in on the discussion.
  • Find the hashtags your ideal customers are using. By using the hashtags that are of interest to your ideal customer, you can increase the chances of being found
  • Just as with incorporating keywords into content to boost search engine rankings, you should do hashtag research to optimize your content for the most relevant audience.
  • Look through your competitors’ accounts, see what hashtags they’re using, and click through to see how others are using those hashtags.

How to Use Hashtags

Even though most people know what they are, many people still don’t know how to use hashtags.

Using a hashtag on a social post is really as simple as adding the # sign before a single word or phrase, without spaces or punctuation.

Hashtags should be specific to the audience you’re trying to attract. The more specific you get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience means better engagement.

Focus in on a passionate community that shares an interest in one specific theme – like kitchen design, kitchen cabinetry, interior design, kitchen remodeling. Our industry is made up of a “passionate community that shares an interest in one specific theme” – get in there and start hashtagging.

Your business sells kitchen cabinets, kitchen design services, kitchen remodeling. Instead of using the broad term #kitchens—that brings in in results all over the board, from wall paint colors to hinges for cabinets to ads for remodeling services —use instead #kitchendesigntrends. Or #kitchenrenovations. Or #interiorrenovations. Here’s a couple examples.

#kitchenrenovations

#kitchendesigntrends

#interiorrenovations

For more in-depth information about how to use hashtags, visit sproutsocial.com.