blog home Social Media Marketing What are Hashtags? And Why are They Important?

Originating on Twitter, hashtags, denoted by “#” immediately followed by a word or phrase, are a means of categorizing data in such a way that third parties can access that data while searching the given hashtag.  In layman’s terms, a hashtag gives you additional information about a particular post, indirectly connecting that post to other posts out there that have used the same hashtag.  In the world of online advertising, hashtags can help a brand get its message in front of as many sets of eyes as possible.

The Hashtag Spreads its Wings

Despite its humble beginnings on Twitter, the hashtag is now a valuable component of most social media sites.  The major players in social media marketing – Google+, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – all incorporate hashtags into user experience, making it easy for brands to hone in on a particular topic and appeal to an intended audience.  The hashtag is such a common mainstay in the world of social media that most users are not only familiar with it, but are comfortable themselves using hashtags, searching them, and paying attention to them.  For Internet marketing, hashtags can lead to increased engagement and help expand a brand’s social media audience, two goals that every social media marketer is always vying for.

Using Hashtags

Hashtag use varies from social site to social site.  On Twitter, unofficial etiquette states that no more than two or three hashtags should be used within any given tweet.  With only 140 characters to work with, it stands to reason that limited hashtag use is ideal here.  On Google+, hashtags are now automatically picked out and chosen by the site, creating the need for marketers to not only post relevant information, but compelling content that highlights whatever particular topic they are trying to share with their audiences.

In the world of mobile marketing, hashtags are utilized much more aggressively, particularly on a photo sharing sites like Instagram.  In this case, hashtags are utilized to not only provide captions for posted photos, but are a means to an end for users to gain additional likes, new followers, and more exposure for their profile.  Generally speaking, hashtags have become so commonplace that television shows even incorporate them into broadcasts now, encouraging viewers to take conversations about the show online, sharing their thoughts on social media for everyone to see.  Without hashtags, it would not be nearly as easy for social media users to find the exact discussions they’re looking for.

Hashtags and Social Media Marketing

While you may think you know how to effectively incorporate hashtags into your marketing strategy, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what other brands are doing.  Not only can you figure out what works best, but you’ll also be able to avoid strategies that simply do not work.  For more information about hashtags and how they can be incorporated into your advertising campaign, contact the Internet marketing team at SLS Consulting at (323) 254-1510.

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