What is a Hashtag in 2019?

What is a Hashtag?

…and how do hashtag’s work?

The easiest way to get your head around hashtag’s, what they are or how to use them, is to first of all think of them as being a way of naming a conversation on a specific topic.

Anyone who wants to be involved in that conversation can drop the a hashtag into their post on social media platforms.

Then when you search for a hashtag and view the results returned, you will be able to read the “worlds” conversation about that given topic/hashtag.

A keyword, topic or phrase that is preceeded with the hash symbol # (looks like a naughts and crosses grid) suddenly turns that word, from just a word into a hashtag, when it is then used on various social media platforms.

Hashtags usefulness in Twitter

Twitter was the first social media platform to proactively use hashtags on its platform. Witnessing the hashtag’s power and effect, many other social media platforms also adopted this method of everyone talking about any given topic or subject.

Initially, the hashtag had lots of power on Twitter, which gave everyday businesses access to an incredible tool by which to promote their products and services.

EG, if you wanted a #WebsiteDesigner and you reviewed the results that this hashtag returned, any company promoting their services, using that hashtag could easily be found. Depending on how powerful their post was at provoking action in those that viewed it, varying amounts of “traffic” could click on the post and be sent to their website or landing pages.

These days, however, many different marketing agencies have run independent studies into their use on Twitter and whether they still aid the post being found higher up in searches compared to the hashtag not being used and simply a keyword being used. Depending on which study you read, many say it’s lost its influence on Twitter.

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan or user of twitter, it just didn’t click with me unlike other platforms, so it’s hard to say from personal experience as to how effective hashtags can still be for the everyday small business owner on this social media platform.

Hashtags usefulness in Instagram (and using the Hashtag for promotional Uses)

When you combine the Hashtag and Instagram, you’ll discover that it’s found an entirely new lease of life. Working in very much the same way as it does on Twitter, you can search for conversations about any given subject.

For example, my personal passion is running. So I am always posting photos of the sceney and wildlife I discover when I’m running about Milton Keynes. So I regularly use the hashtag #running and the hashtag #miltonkeynes.

As such I recently became an affiliate marketer for the female sports clothing brand Just Strong. Now, when I post an image using the #running hashtag, wearing one of their tops, I drop my affiliate link discount code in the post caption. That way, anyone wanting to know about #running, will see my post and if they decide to visit this store, they can get 10% off their purchases, using the discount code I provided. This gets accredited to me as a little kickback payment, and all of it was possible as a result of my adopting to use the #running in my post details.

Hashtags usefulness on Google

Like any keyword search on google, it will most likely return the highest results first. Every hashtag I have tried has resulted in Twitter’s website being listed as the first result. Instagram being listed as the second result. Then a couple of other websites that focus that keyword heavily (regardless of the actual hash symbol existing or not in the search term). Then associated images that have been indexed in it’s database that have used the hashtag in its alternative details description (alt tag).

I don’t think i’ve ever turned to Google before to search for hashtag’s, its definately not been a “method” of using/surfing the internet that I’ve thought to try before.

To #Hashtag or not to #hashtag – that is the question!

When to #hashtag!

When a hashtag is used in the correct context it can skyrocket your post (and business) to dizzy heights.
Personally, as a rule, I always try to include a minimum of 3 hashtags but no more than 5. Depending on your business or profession you may want to max your hashtag’s to 3. You need to experiment on the platforms you use them and then situations you use them in, but remember it’s not just the hashtag that counts. It’s the quality of your post and the message it contains as well that triggers actions and results that can be measurable.

I also create a unique hashtag for the product or service I am promoting. So that if it suddenly becomes overwhelming popular or indemand anyone wanting to know more specifically about it, can use that specific hashtag and will suddenly be able to read everyones thoughts about it. EG. I do this alot with my Whiteboard Animation Business posts. EG #FabFit42 is a hashtag, that I drop into all my posts about being healthy and fit as a single mum at the ago of 42, trying to balance a job, a business, 2 young girls, whilst also being able to have some time to dedicate to the things I like doing. If I ever want to release a coaching service, for example, that is targeted at other women struggling to find the same style of home-work-life balance, this hashtag will be in prime position to fuel that promotion.

#When #Not #To #Hashtag!

Then there are those people that dilute a message for human readability and comprehension and which makes it just plain irritating to read, that uses a hashtag on every damn word. Regardless if that word is useful to them or not!

My General Rule x 3 Hashtag’s Per Post

Hashtag number 1, something that is unique to the product or service.

Hashtag number 2 & 3, topics of conversation that my ideal target audience like to search for, on Instagram or Twitter. EG #Running #MiltonKeynes #WebsiteDesignCompanies.

What makes a useful hashtag?

Some ideas to get your creative juices going….

  • Locations (city’s, town’s, countries, etc)
  • Activites (hobbies, interests, pastimes)
  • Events (event name and year/date)
  • Product/Service name (try and be creative to make yours unique)
  • Interests (food, fashion, movies)
  • Famous People (politians, filmstars, pop stars etc)
  • TV Programs (soap opera’s, reality tv shows)

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