If you read one of my earlier posts about hashtags, then you know that the hashtag (#), also known as the pound sign, is used to indicate keywords or topics in online conversations and help index tweets. Essentially, a hashtag makes tweets and other social media postings searchable. (Read more at Why All the Hashtags.)
In most cases, clicking on the words following “#” will start a search or filter through listings containing the same or similar hashtags.
At one time, hashtags were mostly found on Twitter, but now Facebook (as of June 2013), Google+, Instagram, and other social media outlets have also incorporated them into their sites. In fact, on Google+, the program automatically looks for a keyword in a title or text and, if it finds one, pulls that to be the hashtag for the posting.
However, we should not depend on Google or anyone else to create and post hashtags. There’s a bit of an art to working with them, and knowing how to use them can help boost the “searchability” of you and your company.
The following are some hashtag tips:
There are no spaces when using hashtags. Do not do this: #this is a hashtag; instead, do this: #thisisahashtag.
Numbers are supported but punctuation marks are not.
Keep hashtags as short as possible: #ISSAINTERCLEANNORTHAMERICAORLANDO is way too long; #ISSASHOWORLANDO will work, but #ISSAORLANDO will work even better.
Some companies have tried to piggyback on a current news event or on another company’s hashtags to promote themselves or their products. While this may improve their searchability, it can also be met with strong disapproval from users, which may cause more harm than good in the long run.
Before selecting a hashtag to use frequently to help brand your company or a product, see if it is already being used; if it is, you should select something else.
There is no preset list of hashtags; you may create your own. However, they should be keywords or otherwise relevant to the key point of a social media posting. Relevant is the important word here.
Related to this tip, the hashtag must not only be relevant but also specific. For instance, “#cleaning” is pretty vague, while “#cleaningandhealth” or “floorcleaning” are more specific (and therefore more effective).
Do not use the “at” symbol (@) with a hashtag. “@” is usually used in Twitter to tweet someone directly or to call someone’s attention to a tweet.
Don’t use too many hashtags per posting. Too many hashtags looks like spam, and research finds that too many hashtags can actually drop engagement with a post. I tend to use no more than two hashtags per posting.
Avoid using sentimental or emotional words with hashtags; “#love” or “#hate” should not be used, especially for a business posting.
By Robert Kravitz