how to use hashtags

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in social media | No Comments

I’ll try to keep this post #short. and to preface, this post relates to how to use hashtags for personal use. if you’re a brand or a marketing person looking for info on how to use hashtags for marketing, contact me for more information. I’d be glad to talk to you about how hashtags can help your marketing efforts.

so… first and foremost… hashtags don’t currently work as intended with facebook. if you want to include them for some sort of impact to your status update, go for it. it might lend a helping hand in giving readers an easy insight into the content of a long post, but it won’t function from a tech standpoint. hashtags are currently most functional with twitter and instagram, the social networking kings alongside facebook. duh? so, what are hashtags? without getting too over-the-top-tech, hashtags are keywords in your text/comments that the network you’re on can find and index. like giving twitter or IG a way to search content and categorize things. when you see a hashtag used on twitter or instagram, you can click it and be taken to a page of other content that is tagged the same.

for people looking to grab more followers, it’s a great way to expose your content, be it a tweet or image. for instance… here’s how to use hashtags. if I take a picture at the gym of one of my crossfit workouts and post the image to instagram I might tag that image with #crossfit or something that describes the image. people can then perform a search for #crossfit and my image would populate into their search results in chronological order. I might see some people that I don’t know commenting on my photo or requesting to follow me after that since #crossfit is a fairly popular term that people search for.

another cool instance for how to use hashtags – let’s say you’ve just gotten a new dog or had a baby. every time you post a picture of your kid on instagram hashtag it with a unique term. #finnleysWorld could be a hashtag I’d use on pics of my daughter. over the years, if you keep up with using this hashtag, you can do a search for your term and see all the pics you’ve ever tagged. or when your kid is old enough to “get it” (probably sooner than you think) they’ll be able to take a peek at all the pics you took as they were growing up.

back to facebook… to keep it simple, facebook’s search engine does not currently recognize hashtags. it’s that simple. so if you enter hashtags into your next fb post, don’t expect it to do anything. it’s not cool. it’s not functional. it’s not needed. that’s just not how to use hashtags. right now at least. to get a little more involved, facebook is sort of a closed network. people need to request permission to access your profile in it’s entirety whereas twitter and instagram are generally open networks. if I want to follow keanu reeves on twitter or instagram, I can. there’s always the option to close your feed or make it private, but that kinda defeats the purpose. my point here is that if hashtags did work on facebook it would be a closed circuit. you’d search for a hashtagged term and find a whole bunch of people to request as friends. it wouldn’t be an instant gratification because you wouldn’t see the content you were looking for. twitter and instagram will take you directly to the content you’re searching and a by product would be to find people with relative interests that might choose to follow.

so to recap. use hashtags. just don’t use them on facebook. cool? check me out on twitter here and instagram here – always down to make some new connections.