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What Are #Hashtags and Why Should You Use Them?

Feb 7th 2014 at 8:20 PM

Hashtags are becoming quite popular these days. But you may have no idea what they are or why you should even care. Yet, they can assist you in expanding your online presence, and in connecting with like-minded people.

In this article we’ll define what hashtags are and then provide an explanation of why you should be using them.

What Are Hashtags?

Simply put hashtags contain words or phrases linked together and preceded by the # sign. Here’s how defines it: 1. (on social networking websites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it: The hashtag #sandiegofire was used to help coordinate an emergency response to the fire.

There you have an official definition. Now let’s make it a little clearer.


In the definition you saw an example of a hashtag. When you look at that symbol you may be thinking, “Oh, it’s the pound sign.” Yes, it’s the pound sign, but that’s not what it’s called in the context of hashtags. You might also notice that it looks like the “number sign.” And yes it is, but again, not in the context of hashtags.

You might say that this little guy suffers from an identity crisis. Well, not really, since it’s right at home in social media and other applications. It’s really us marketers who’ve been somewhat confused. Well it’s time to shake off the confusion and get an understanding of how to use them.

What’s the Point of Using Hashtags?

Hashtags allow communities of people that are interested in the same topic to connect with one another. Here’s an example of that: #onlinemarketing. If you type that into the Facebook search bar, a page with that title will appear. On that page you’ll find several posts from online marketers. You’ll find that the content is organized and is in the context of online marketing. That’s where you connect with them on Facebook.

As you add content to your favorite social platforms, using the appropriate hashtags will put your content into context, thus adding to the discussion. Your content will also match the theme of that particular hashtag.

Hashtags are good for connecting with people in your particular niche. You’ll be able to expand your online presence and connect with potential business partners or prospects.

The point of using hashtags, as far as online marketers are concerned, is that of expanding your brand and exposing more people to your online content.

Where Can You Use Them?

Facebook was already mentioned, but it’s not the only social site using hashtags. More and more social platforms have jumped on the hashtags band wagon. Here’s a list of some of them:

  • Twitter (Probably the original social platform to use them)
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

Not only are hashtags being used in social media, but they’re being used everywhere. You can see hashtags on billboards, TV and product containers. Just about anything you can think of, or anywhere you can imagine, you’ll see hashtags in use.

Since more social platforms are moving toward use of hashtags, it’s good for you as an online marketer to have an understanding of hashtags too.

Creating Hashtags to Expand Your Online Presence

You can create a hastag specific to you or your business. Here’s where uniqueness is highly important. If your hashtag is too general, your posts will be thrown into a feed with hundreds or thousands of others and will likely get lost in the mix. You’ll also want to keep your hashtags short. Abbreviate if necessary and don’t separate the characters.

Give thought to it by thinking about where you fit in. Research hashtags of those in your market and see what they’re saying. Then make a list of words or phrases you want to use in your posts. Setting up your hashtags correctly will expand your online presence and will enable you to connect with more people in your market.

When you establish your unique hashtag, you’ll want to use it on a consistent basis. Use it in every post you make. When responding to trending topics use your unique hashtag.  People in your market will become familiar with your hashtag and connect with you. Your online presence will grow.

Expand Your Online Exposure

If you didn’t know before, now you have a better idea of what hashtags are and why you should be using them.

By all means take advantage of this opportunity to draw more attention to your online service, products and offers. Incorporate hashtags into your online strategy and your popularity online will soar!

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