Here’s a quick lesson on hashtags. Because lots of people ask me ‘what’s a hashtag?’ or aren’t sure how to use them.
A hashtag looks like this: #word.
They’re a grouping tool, allowing for people to search social media platforms for specific topics – like #Melbourne #cloud #food #whatiwore (just like metadata on a website).
They don’t translate so well from those aforementioned social media platforms back to Facebook. So if you link your Instagram photos to Facebook, and hashtag them, the hashtag becomes redundant (until Facebook gets hashtag support). When I hashtag pictures on Instagram, I put them in a comment below the picture so it doesn’t interfere with the description or comment, and doesn’t pollute my Facebook feed when I share it on Facebook.
Hashtags work really well when commenting on events or TV shows (like #AFLSaintsPies or #QANDA). It means people can easily follow a discussion. If a lot of people are using a certain hashtag on Twitter, that topic can trend – known as a ‘trending topic’. I love the way they can allow people who aren’t at an event (like a conference) to follow the discussion and join in the conversation from wherever they are.
Sometimes they can work as a statement (like #Thatswhatshesaid or #justsaying) but that’s a bit of an in-joke, I think.
You can’t punctuate hashtags. They lose the searchability function
There’s no need to book end words with hashtags (#like# #this#). The hashtag only needs to go at the start of the word.
Don’t overuse hashtags. Choose a few key words and use them in your tweet, and consider putting them at the end of your main text so your message is no cluttered.
While it is wonderful to receive blog comments, it’s really not necessary to #write #the #comment #solely #in #hashtags #like #this. Really.
And there’s definitely no need to use them in an email, a text message or a blog post (ones explaining hashtags are exceptions of course!).
Lastly, definitely don’t hashtag a word in a verbalised sentence (like “hashtag LOL”). Just no.
Hashtag lesson over. #yourewelcome #redundanthashtag 😉
It you’ve got any questions about blogging or social media, do send them my way.
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