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What is a hashtag?

When running a workshop on Twitter or Instagram I ask the audience “does anyone NOT know what a hashtag is?”, and there are always a few hands raised.  This video is for you if you are unsure what and how you should be using a hashtag.

What is a hashtag?

When you are writing an email address or a website address in a MS Word document it will automatically turn blue. This then hyperlinks the word and you know if you click on it then you will be redirected to the website, or it will open up your email client to send an email – a hashtag works in the same way.

A hashtag in Twitter makes a word searchable

For example, if you typed #Northampton into Twitter search, then you will see everyone who is talking about this subject. This is fantastic technology for conferences and expos, as well as hashtag hours (where people discuss a particular topic).

Where do you find a hashtag?

This is another question that I am asked on a regular basis. For the record, there are no directories of hashtags that you can use, you simply hashtag a keyword within your tweet. If you think it is a word that people will be searching for, then consider putting a hash symbol before the keyword (no gas between the symbol and the word).

Are there rules about using hashtags?

There are unwritten rules for using hashtags. If you stay within these rules then you really can't go wrong.

1. Never use more than two hashtags in any one tweet. (Although on Instagram, we suggest looking at an average of 18 hashtags – yes! 18!).

2. Never hashtag words that are not strong keywords. I often see words such as #Marketing #Business #Management. Ask yourself, “would I search for these words?” – if so, then you are good to go! I work in the world of marketing and I have never conducted a Twitter search for #Marketing.

3. Always hashtag locations. If you are typing a Tweet and using a town, city or country, then I would recommend adding a hashtag to these every time.

I hope these tips help. Please subscribe if you want to hear our regular tips and advice.