Twitter For Business: What Is A Hashtag?

What is a hashtagWhat is a hashtag?

Placing the # (hashtag) symbol in front of a word or words (no spaces in between) in some social media sites turns that word or words into a clickable link that when clicked gives you a list of all the status updates/tweets/comments that have included that #hashtag in it.

Why is it there?

The #hashtag makes it easy to find conversations that are talking about the same thing.  Let me explain:  It’s a bit like going to a library and looking for an autobiography.  If the library didn’t have a specific labelled section for autobiographies and all the books were just randomly stuck on the shelves we’d have trouble finding them.  The hashtag is giving the update/tweet/comment a label to make it easier to include it in a particular section of conversation and makes it easier to find.

Where can I use it?

Although Twitter is probably the most well known social media site for the #hashtag, you can now use them on some of the other social media sites such as Google+, Facebook and Instagram.

How is it used?

#Hashtags are used in lots of different ways including:

Following conversations around television programs:  most popular programs feature a #hashtag so viewers can comment and talk to each other on social media sites about what they’re watching

But for business they’re generally used in these ways:

Conferences & exhibitions:  to connect conversations to do with the events:

event hashtag

Local networking:  to find people in your geographic area to network with:

local hashtag

Industry discussions:  to talk about your industry developments, news and network with your peers:

Industry Hashtag

Categorising:  to make it easier for people to see what the post is about:

category hashtag

And not forgetting:

A way to recommend someone using #ff (also known as #followfriday):

Follow Friday Hashtag

Can you search a #hashtag ACROSS social media sites?

Funny you should ask that 🙂

I came across Tagboard.com when I was reading an article on Social Media Examiner.  #tagboard is a website where you can create your own #hashtag boards so you can follow the #hashtags you’re interested in across multiple social media sites.  You definitely need to put this on your list of social media tools to have a look at!

Tagboard for hashtag

What #hashtags do you use on a regular basis? Tweet me @kljsocialmedia

 

3 ways to use the Twitter #Hashtag

If you’re new to Twitter you may be wondering why lots of words have this symbol in front of them # – known as the Hashtag (or if you’re in the USA the ‘pound’ symbol).

It’s commonly used to group tweets of a particular topic together – so if you click on a #hashtagged word you get a list of all the tweets that have used it.  It was useful when we had all that snow at the beginning of the year – anyone wanting to talk about the snow used the #hashtag #uksnow and it made conversation around that topic easier to follow.  You’ll also see it used profusely every Friday #FF – a way of recommending people you know, like and trust to your followers.

It’s also really useful if you’re using Twitter for business – here’s 3 examples of how it’s being used:

  1. Creating a Tweet Chat – The Social CMO hold a tweetchat every Monday night with a special guest using #MMchat – they also post a transcript of the chat afterwards.
  2. Bring a new twist to offline events – Social Media Examinerexplains 3 ways to use the Twitter hashtag at live events.
  3. Promoting content, crowdsourcing, monitoring conversation, contests – Ok so number three has four ways – but it’s only one article over at The Next Web.

Do you use the Hashtag in any of these ways?  Was it useful?  Let me know :)