Hashtags 101: What Are They? Where & How Do You Use Them?
It seems you can’t get far on the internet without seeing a hashtag. There are “trending” hashtags and hashtags that have little pictures next to them on Twitter.
They’ve become the new language of the internet and are used for a variety of purposes. Knowing how to use them right can make your posts more appealing. It can also help you find more of what you’re looking for.
Whether you’re learning to use the “cloud” at large or going through tutoring to learn a specific social media site, hashtags will come up at some point. This is one of those things that has gone beyond fad to being a big part of the internet, so it’s important to know how hashtags work so you can get comfortable using them.
What Are Hashtags?
Hashtags are noted by a term that appears after what many of us know as the pound sign (#).
Hashtags were first invented in August 2007, when a Google developer named Chris Messina sent a tweet on Twitter to a colleague asking what they thought about using the pound sign “#” in front of words to designate different groups.
How Do You Write Hashtags?
There is no protocol in whether capital letters are used or not. Some hashtags will use capital letters to note each word to make the term more readable, while others will leave everything in lower case.
Both are acceptable:
There are no spaces in hashtags and no special characters. Adding either will “break” the hashtag off after you enter it. However, you can add a number to a hashtag.
What’s the Purpose of Hashtags?
While hashtags were initially created to help find information (like keywords), they have morphed into having a few different purposes.
1. To find or follow a certain topic. If you want to find information about a hurricane on social media, you might go on Twitter and look for #Snowmageddon2021
2. To help people find your social post. You can get more visibility for your social post if you add pertinent hashtags.
3. To brand an event, business, or product. Advertisers and promoters will often come up with a unique hashtag and use it for all posts for a specific product, event, or organization to help brand it in the hashtag world.
4. To be funny or clever. People will also use hashtags to be funny. For example, if you post of photo of yourself in pajamas and your hair a mess after you just woke up, you might use #EverTheFashionista or #ImReadyForMyCloseup to get a laugh from your friends.
Unique vs Trending vs Weekly Hashtags
Unique hashtags are those that are unique to that post or brand. They’re the ones you just come up with off the top of your head. Such as using #NevertooOldToRock when you post of picture of a group of friends having a blast at a Def Leppard concert.
Trending hashtags are those that are popular for the moment, and you’ll find them on Twitter.
If there is a big news story, you’ll be able to get more details on the topic by looking at the trending hashtags (the hashtags everyone is suddenly using).
Where Do You Use Hashtags?
Hashtags are used mainly on social media sites, although you will sometimes see them creeping into other communication channels, such as text messages.
I’ll start with the social app that’s the “Queen” of hashtags, which is Instagram.
Instagram Loves Its Hashtags
Out of all the social media sites, Instagram posts tend to use the most hashtags. While Twitter posts have around 1 to 2 hashtags, the sweet spot for using them on Instagram posts is 11!
On Instagram, a post with at least 1 hashtag gets 29% more interactions, while a post with 11 hashtags gets 79.5% more interactions. (An interaction would be someone clicking “like,” commenting, or sharing the post.)
Twitter is King of Hashtags
Hashtags are a big part of Twitter and it even assigns pictures to certain hashtags just for fun.
You can find recent news and information about just about any topic by searching a hashtag in the search bar.
LinkedIn Uses Them Too!
LinkedIn, which is the social media site used by business people to connect, also uses hashtags. You can add them to any post and the application will even suggest hashtags for you to use.
Facebook Isn’t Sure Yet About Hashtags
You can use hashtags on Facebook, but this social society isn’t yet sure about them. It’s frowned upon if you use more than 1 or 2 (seen as being “spammy”), and you won’t see a lot of posts using them here.
They can still help find things or get a laugh, but they’re not as big on Facebook as they are on Instagram and Twitter.
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