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A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or number sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it.

Source: Wikipedia

A hash tag turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to track discussion topics based on those keywords. Hashtags are such a huge part of networking these days that is is vital you understand how to use them, especially in business.

So what can you put into a hashtag?

Spaces are not supported in a hashtag. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#VirtualAssistant). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results, so searching for #VirtualAssistant will yield the same results as #virtualassistant

Numbers are supported, so tweet about #10waystomakethemostoutofyourvirtualassistant .However, punctuation marks are not, so commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out. Forget about asterisks,  or any other special characters.

Which Platforms support the hashtag?

Good news, they all do ! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr.

How can you make use of the hashtag for  business & marketing?

  • Use relevant industry hashtags. See what hashtags other businesses in your field are using
  • Follow trends. See what hashtags are trending and make use of them — if they are relevant to your business.Using a popular hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand can damage your credibility so think carefully.
  • Create your own hashtag. If you want to create a special hashtag for an event or campaign, select one that hasn’t been used before and remind everyone to use it in related tweets. Be sure to include the hashtag in any promotional materials

The hashtag & campagining

Creating a  promotion is a great way to get Twitter talking about your brand. Users will be more likely to retweet your hashtags if they know they might win a prize by doing so.

Some helpful tips…….

Be specific: If you’re using a hashtag to join a conversation, make sure the hashtag is specific and relevant to your topic.

Keep it simple: Hashtags, like links, look like spam if they are used too often. Three hashtags should be the maximum on Twitter and Facebook, but you can get away with more hashtags on Instagram.  Don’t hashtag the same word twice.

Give context: A tweet that contains only hashtags is not only confusing — it’s boring. If your tweet simply reads, “#goodmorning,” your followers will have no idea what you’re talking about.

Embrace: Embrace hastags but do not go crazy with them.

Hashtag Positions: Don’t put your #hashtag in the middle of the #sentence. That makes #reading the sentence #annoying. See? Instead, write out your whole post and add the hashtags at the end.

Lastly, check your hashtags on a regular basis especially for new business and new connections. All you need to do is click on the phrase with the hashtag and this will take you directly to everyone’s tweets in connection with that hashtag.

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