Using Hashtags Effectively

Hashtags, the ultimate source of confusion, I've been asked many times by colleagues and friends, what exactly is a hashtag? My usual response is hashtags are your point of reference in a conversation, but in actual fact, they can be so much more than that. Hashtags are not just used on twitter, hashtags have found their home across other social media platforms, such as Facebook (Although not as popular), Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Related Article: The best Eleven minutes on Twitter ever!

Here's how I use hashtags...

The hashtag that's part of a question

I recently asked another twitter user a question about what was happening in the photo they posted, ending the tweet with #curious. By using this hashtag I was able to cut down on the amount of characters used with just one word and in a slightly amusing way get my point across.

The statement hashtag

This hashtag can be used to make a point of view, perhaps you are passionate about a political statement, sports team or a cause you are campaigning for. By using a hashtag you can get your point of view across quickly and effectively.

The campaign hashtag

This hashtag can be fun, here's where you can create your own hashtag which is relevant to your campaign, challenge or competition. This is not just for brands or companies, individuals can use these as well. Such as, you are cycling for charity the full length of the UK, or swimming the English Channel, you can use a hashtag so other users can follow you. #SarahCycle #SwimBill - have fun with your hashtag, but remember they use up characters so try can keep then fairly short and snappy.

The trending hashtag

This is where you can join in the conversation on popular topics - perhaps the topic is serious, such as #Syria or a lighter hearted, #DowntownAbbey. I also use the trending hashtag on Linkedin, #SocialMedia, to either join the conversation, find interesting posts or like minded people.

Whatever the topic you can read what other users are saying or post you own comment. But please make sure your comment is relevant to the hashtag, don't make the mistake these brands have done (see below) it won't end well.

The silly hashtag

I love a silly hashtag, they always make me smile and can be fun, they don't have to be a trending topic or even be previously used by someone else, just go for it and use a silly hashtag at the end of your post. #HowToUseHashtagsOnSocialMedia

The Conversational Hashtag

This type of hashtag is used in general conversation in reply to another user, it's similar to the statement hashtag, but this is just a simple hashtag to bring a point of reference to your lighthearted conversation.

Here are two top tips when it comes to delving into the world of hashtags: One: always capitalise the first letter of each word, it makes it easier to read and you might avoid any embarrassing mistakes. And two: always research your hashtag first and make sure it's relevant to what you are going to say.

Have fun with your hashtags!

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