This morning we discovered through a trending Twitter hashtag that today is Bacon Day. We wanted to do something to honor this newly discovered holiday, and since we came across this glorious tradition because of a hashtag we thought it would be fitting to talk a bit about how hashtags work, and using them properly. Running across hashtags has become inevitable when browsing the internet. Originating on Twitter, hashtags have become part of the way we communicate online. So how do they work? Here’s a quick guide to get you started in the wonderful world of hashtags.
Hashtags allow social media users to tag their posts with keywords. This helps the social site, like Twitter or Facebook, to better organize topics and make searches easier. To create your own hashtag simply add the pound sign (#) to any group of words or a single word. This will turn the text to a searchable link. A hashtag is helpful if you are interested in organizing content or following certain discussion topics.
As easy as it looks, there are some rules to follow when creating hashtags:
- Numbers can be used in hashtags
- Uppercase letters will not change your search results- #rgb will produce the same results as #RGB
- Never use spaces. If your hashtag contains multiple words they should be grouped together
- Punctuation is not supported. No commas, exclamation and question marks, apostrophes, periods, etc.
- If you want to directly communicate with someone (Twitter and Facebook) you would use @ before a person’s Twitter handle
Tips for making hashtags work for you:
- Use capital letters to differentiate words. Example: #RGBInternetSystems, #BaconDay
- Use hashtags relevant to the topic, and be conservative with your hashtag use
- Create and use hashtags that reinforce your brand
- A trending hashtag can be a great way to gain visibility for your brand, but don’t force your brand onto hashtags that are not relevant
- Research your hashtags – learn how other companies are using hashtags
Even though hashtags originated on Twitter, most social media sites make use of them. For the most part, all sites use hashtags the same way. Below is a list of some of the most popular social sites and how they use hashtags.
Twitter – Hashtags began here and this is where they are the most popular. All of the above tips and rules apply to hashtag use on Twitter. The left hand side of your Twitter stream will list the trending topics for today.
Facebook – Facebooks lists trending topics on the right side of your news feed. A search for #baconday on your Facebook page will list similar posts. Some posts may be hidden based an individual users’ privacy settings.
Google+ – In addition to using hashtags like Facebook and twitter, Google + will often add hashtags to your content if there is a relevant, popular keyword. This is optional and you are able to turn this setting off within Google +
Instagram – Use hashtags here to discover photos similar to photos you have taken.
Other popular social sites that use hashtags are Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Vine.