Everything you wanted to know about Hashtags… but didn’t know who to ask

hashtags on Social MediaIf you’re on Social Media today, you would be familiar with the term ‘Hashtags’ or ‘#’. What is with these hashtags that make them so popular? Where and how can we use hashtags? Here are the answers to some of your questions.

Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and almost all other social networks to identify messages on a specific topic. Hashtags help you bucketize your content and extend its reach as well.

How Hashtags are used on various Social Networks?

Twitter
Twitter was the first platform where hashtags were introduced in 2007. Just by searching for a particular hashtag you can get to know who all are talking on that topic and what they are saying. You can find the trending topics on the left hand side of your Twitter stream and engage with them

Hashtags on Facebook
Facebook hashtags tend to work best when you’re attempting to cash in on something that’s already viral. Theoretically, there is no limit on the number of hashtags you can use in your posts.
While Facebook doesn’t allow direct search for hashtags through its search bar, you can manually search for the hashtag by either clicking on the hashtag or by visiting facebook.com/hashtag/(search term).

Hashtags on Instagram
Instagram limits the used of hashtags to 30 per post. Search results on Instagram come in display in ascending order, so newest posts will show at the top. On Instagram, hashtags are also used in various games and challenges

Hashtags on Tumblr
Hashtags work like general post tags on Tumblr as it is actually a blog site. Tumblr hashtags are unique as it allows you to include numbers, spaces & characters which are forbidden by most other social networks. On Tumblr, just adding the proper hashtags can direct tons of visitors to your blog.

Hashtags on Flickr
While Flickr supports hashtags, it’s more for searching your own content, rather than enabling sharing and extending the reach of your content.

Hashtags on Pinterest
Much like Flickr, Pinterest also supports hashtags, but its use is not as prevalent or useful for mining content as it is on Instagram or Twitter.

Hashtags on Google Plus
The only network that will automate hashtags for you. Once you’ve posted an update, the system will take the liberty of adding hashtags, it believes are relevant to your content.

YouTube
Add a relevant Hashtag in the comments of a video. By just clicking on the hashtag you will get access to all the videos that contain that hashtag in their title.

Vine
Add a hashtag to your Vine’s description and get access to all the Vine’s on the same topic.

Other Networks that Support Hashtags: Kickstarter, App.net, Flickr, FriendFeed, GitHub, Tout.

Why use Hashtags?
When used effectively, hashtags help you to reach people – who are interested in your subject or content, even those who are not even part of your network.

Here are some facts on how hashtags impact the popularity of your content:

  • Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21% more engagement, but using more than 2 hashtags drops engagement down by 17%
  • Usually 25% of the tweets get retweeted, however the number rises to 40% for the tweets that include hashtags
  • Users are 55% more likely to retweet something with at least 1 hashtag

Some Do’s & Don’ts for effectively using hashtags
Do’s

  • Hashtag only relevant words in a tweet and/or use keywords as hashtag like – #RenewableEnergy, #FinancialInclusion, #WomenEmpowerment etc. You can do a quick search and find related hashtags.
  • For events like – Twitter chats, brand campaigns, conferences  – it is better to create your own hashtag. This will help in creating a stream of content just about the event.
  • Instead of adding your hashtags at the end of the message you can tweak the language and camouflage your hashtags within the message.

Don’ts

    • Cram too many hashtags in one tweet as it makes the tweet look like spam content
    • Make hashtags too long.
    • Hashtag every word in caption/messaging
    • Use special characters or symbols between your hashtag

At Digiqom, we are constantly engaged with pushing the boundaries of using Hashtags. Sometimes, inventing new ones like #SocialBudget2014 for creating social media feeds around India’s Union Budget announcement, and #REInvest2015 for promoting content around India’s first renewable energy investment conclave, or even for contests around brand propositions, and twitter chats for various causes and corporates ( too many to list!).

Using Hashtags, helps in creating a logical stream in the unstructured content flows on social media, and also helps in increasing content reach and connecting with target audiences who would engage with your content. Go ahead, give it a try! And share your stories here.

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