In an age of ‘perform or perish’, social media visibility has become all-pervasive. Twitter is one such prime example that is used by business and individuals alike to enhance their visibility online. Hashtags play an essential role as Twitter handles to let users know trending topic, similar topics or give a unique identity to their tweets. Tweets can also be categorized or grouped according to the keywords used.
However, what was once a technique native to Twitter has now proliferated social media of all kinds. Hashtag symbol is used before a prominent keyword or phrase in Twitter. Hashtags have found their place in all kinds of different social networks and now enjoy a powerful and privileged position as one of the most potent tools that people can use to satisfy personal or business needs, reach out to like-minded others and be involved in engaging group discussions and events.
At a ground level, a hashtag is nothing more than a particular word preceded by a pound or “#” sign. In its original application in Twitter, it was used as a means for people to insert searchable keywords and tags into their posts, so as to allow other people to join in conversation and view local or worldwide trends regarding the hot topics currently under discussion. Currently, they are a powerful tool for a wide range of personal and business applications and form a large part of communication and interaction on social media.
The Essence of Hashtags
Anyone can make up a hashtag. Any word preceded by the pounding sound is automatically perceived as a hashtag. It might either be exciting, engaging and compelling or meaningless, boring or irrelevant. People use hashtags in a variety of ways, and the onus is on the user to bring out the true potential of the hashtag in social media, whether it is for personal or business needs. Since hashtags are so simple to create, there is a lot of abuse and misuse of hashtags in social media. The correct way of going about using hashtags is to learn the correct and productive way of using them and harnessing their power to serve a particular purpose or need.
Here are few examples that are self-explanatory:
We sell #cupcakes #Brownies, you can buy online http://yoursitelink.com
Love #pets? We sell everything your #dog needs #petshop http://yoursitelink.com
Here are a few crucial things you need to remember while writing meaningful hashtags for social media –
- • Choice – First and foremost, hashtags needs to be chosen with care and caution and a lot of attention to detail. The true purpose of a hashtag is to make your posts contextually relevant with the interests of like-minded users and to help other people discover what you have to say when they search using that particular hashtag. Consequently, generic, insignificant words perform poorly as hashtags. Remember to only choose hashtags which are interesting, relevant in a current context, and likely to arouse curiosity and interest among other users. Go with the trend but don’t use them just for popularity or it may hurt your credibility.
- • Frequency – Some people have the habit of overusing hashtags. This is a detrimental and counter-intuitive practice and should be avoided at all costs. Hashtags are meant to be used sparingly and with a great deal of thought. Too many hashtags make readers lose interest and skip over the hashtag content. Irrelevant and heavy-handed use of hashtags sends across a bad vibe and readers usually, tend to avoid content with too many hashtags huddled together.
- • Testing –It is extremely important to test out hashtags. You need to know if your hashtag is currently a subject of interest among other users and is relevant in the context of popular interest. You can click on a hashtag to see the kind of conversation they bring up and the level of interest they are currently drawing. Also, make sure you spell them correctly.
Some tools to create and verify Hashtags:
https://www.hashtags.org/ – According to Hashtags.org, “Hashtags.org provides essential information, research and how- to help individuals, businesses and organizations worldwide improve their social media branding and intelligence.”
http://keyhole.co/ – Real-time tracking of Hashtags
https://tagdef.com/ – Find popular hashtags, Top hashtags of the week, New tags that are getting popular.