When a hashtags (the # symbol) is placed before a word or phrase, it becomes “clickable”. So, for example, you see that one of your connections posted about and hashtagged bumblebees, i.e. “#Bumblebees are the best!”. Because they have put a ‘#’ symbol in front of it, you can click “#bumblebees” and see who else is mentioning bumblebees in their posts.
Well, so what’s the point of that? Quite a bit, actually. Since any word or phrase can be turned into a hashtag, users have the ability to define them around the keywords they find most useful. Though they may seem simple, and even pointless from a single user perspective, hashtags are an incredibly powerful tool to increase your exposure and organize your content.
Let’s take the first part: Increasing your exposure. Many websites will monitor “trending” hashtags. (Check out hashtags.org) A trending hashtag is a hashtag that is being used frequently across many users. For example, say “#weddingday” was frequently being used on Twitter, we would be wise to send out a tweet along the lines of “BumblebeePA is happy to help with any last minute #weddingday errands.” (Here it may be good to note, “#weddingday” is distinct from #wedding day”. In the second option, ‘day’ will not be included in the hashtag.)
This means that our tweet is now visible to everyone using that hashtag, adding to our searchability, as well as a way to let people know a little bit more about our company. It’s a simple way to help boost your presence through a targeted keyword.
Hashtags are also invaluable when it comes to organizing content. For example, if you were offering a promotion through your business, adding ‘#promotitle’ as a postscript to your posts will allow you track and monitor the buzz around your offer.
The trick to hashtags, like any other tool in social media, is to be deliberate and targeted in what words you are turning into hashtags. Your hashtags need to be the keywords of your message, and need to be used by other people as well in order to get the most use out of them.
Be sure to check out what is trending, what other people are using, and be consistent in your own usage.