Over the past few years, the hashtag has taken social media by storm, revolutionizing the way people around the world participate in specific conversations online. What was merely once a pound sign on a keypad that directed you to a specific pharmacy department’s extension is now one of the most important components of any social media post. For those of you thinking “a what-tag?” and “a hash-what?,” let’s start with the basics.
A hashtag is an interactive label or tag used on social media to link together related posts into one category. It allows users to easily find messages, conversations, and posts with a similar theme all in one place. Hashtags are searchable on any major social media platform (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), allowing users to see every post on that platform with the specific hashtag.
The beauty of the hashtag is that anyone can ‘create’ one. While there are definitely some dos and don’ts that avid social media users figure out as they use hashtags more often… any word, phrase, or tagline can become a hashtag. So, what makes a good hashtag? Here are some key pointers for successful hashtags:
1. Keep Them Short and Sweet.
While a hashtag can really be any combination of words prefaced with a #, it is important to keep it simple. Hashtags can serve as a summary or a theme for the post’s content. Therefore, it should be short and brief rather than a detailed sentence. For example, if you want to make a hashtag for a friend’s birthday, consider something short like #BrittsBirthdayBash. This will make your post more engaging, fun, and easy to read, rather than a long hashtag like #BrittsBirthdayBashWasSoFunOmg, which could be a mouthful.
2. Make it Easily Memorable and Clear.
Hashtags should be a short phrase or title of an event that will be easy for people to remember and recognize. It should be directly related to the overall purpose of the event, campaign, or conversation. This way, users who see the hashtag will instantly know what it’s referring to, and remember it to include in future posts. For example, this past Sunday ‘I Am Cait,’ Caitlyn Jenner’s new docuseries, premiered on E!. Caitlyn posted a tweet before the show using the hashtag #IAmCait, and #IAmCait was also in the corner of the television screen throughout the entire episode. Encouraging the use of #IAmCait allowed viewers all over the world to see other people’s reactions to the show on Twitter in real-time. Those interested in the show could easily find a compact list of tweets relating to Caitlyn Jenner by simply searching #IAmCait.
3. Make Sure to Double Check How the Hashtag Reads.
Depending on an individual’s or business’s social voice, the use of uppercase letters and punctuation may be more or less enforced. Nonetheless, it is important to consider how hashtags look when typed in uppercase letters versus lowercase letters. For example, if someone creates a campaign for women’s rights using the hashtag #AsSheSaid, you may find many confused users questioning the campaign if they read the hashtag as #asshesaid (Ass he said…). However, even if some users type your hashtag in uppercase and some in lowercase, it will still show up in the same list of results when the hashtag is searched.
As you may start to see, hashtags are great for any occasion. With the continuous rise of social media for both professional and personal use, hashtags can be used for a variety of different events and purposes. Some of these could include:
Brand Campaigns, Social Campaigns, Trending Topics (Award Shows, Political events), Weddings, Birthdays, Social Events, Reunions, Etc.
So there you have it — whether you are planning an event with your friends or creating a campaign for a client, be sure you have a standout hashtag to keep users engaged! #TTYL #HappyHashtagging!