by Kerry & Stacy of Socially Safe Social Media, www.sociallysafe.ca
# What is this?
We see this symbol daily on many things: the phone, print ads and of course, Social Media. If you ask your parents what it means, they may tell you it’s the pound symbol…that’s what it was for many years. But social media has changed what this symbol means and Twitter is where it all began. We now know it as a “Hashtag”….but what does it mean?
Simply put, a Hashtag is a way for people to search keywords, trending topics, current news or businesses on social media. If you use the # symbol in front of whatever you are trying to search, all related posts with that hashtag will appear. For example, #sociallysafe. If you put that into your browser, all posts that have images or tweets with #sociallysafe in it will pop up and you can then join the conversation or read what is being said about something you are interested in. Many TV shows use real time hashtags for live shows: #Survivor, #BigBrother, #TeenAwards, etc. This allows viewers to join the social conversation, as the show is happening and engage. Businesses use this for events or product launches and to help them see what the consumer is saying about their products or business. If your hashtag has multiple words, you can distinguish the words by using a capital letter for each new word. Numbers can also be added to a hashtag, but comma’s, periods, exclamation marks, etc., will break the hashtag so don’t use them.
Hashtags were originally only used on Twitter, however it is now acceptable to use them on Instagram, Facebook, Tumbr, Google+ and Pinterest. When you use a hashtag, you want to keep it simple. Don’t add any spaces or symbols to the hashtag or it will break the link. A hashtag can be placed anywhere in a post. You want to keep it short and try not to use too many hashtags in one post or it will look like spam. It is recommended that you only use 2-3 per post. Don’t forget to add content with your hashtags and remember to have fun and THINK before you post.