NEXTFLY Indianapolis Web Design Logo

Social Media 101: Hashtags Explained

Last night I was sitting with a group of my friends on their phones. One stated to the other, “Look at all the hashtags that she put on her Instagram photo.” In which my other friend replied, “I don’t understand the point of hashtags. Why do people use them?”

I figured it was time to break down the hashtag and give you more of an understanding.

People use the hashtag symbol (#) before using a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces in between) on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc. to become part of a category and be able to be found with that search result.

When you click that hashtag statement or phrase it begins the search result. It will show you who is discussing your topic of interest and what they have to say about it. See below for an example of a hashtag used on Facebook.

When numerous people begin discussion all on a specific hashtag, it could become a Trending Topic. Trending topics are seen by every user, usually on the sidebar of your social media feed. They are important because they provide the subject more impressions and awareness. Due to their ability to gather a reader’s attention, many marketers utilize hashtags for their digital marketing campaigns. Below is an example of the hashtag #Transformers utilized to promote the new Transformers film opening in theaters this week.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.37.34 AM

Hashtags do have a lot of benefits, but there are also a few things that you should avoid when using one.

  • Don’t over-tag a tweet or post with multiple hashtags. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 2 per update.
  • Hashtags shouldn’t usually be completely capitalized.
  • Use hashtags respectfully.
  • If you are hashtagging a phrase, don’t put any spaces. Doing so breaks the hashtag.
  • Try to avoid adding yourself into a controversial topic by doing your research of current hashtag trends.

Best of luck out there! Hope you’ve gotten some better understanding to get out there and get hashtagging!