What is a hashtag?

On social media sites it is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.  

Although hashtags are commonly used in Twitter, hashtags are also used in Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and others to draw attention, organize, and promote.


Hashtags got their start in Twitter as a way of making it easier for user conversations to: 
  • find
  • follow
  • contribute
Special software or coding experience is not needed to create a hashtag.  By putting the pound sign directly in front of the word or phrase you want to turn into a hashtag with the basic rules:
  • No spaces
  • No punctuation
  • No special characters
 Capitalization only matters for readability.

Why use hashtags?
  1. Help you get found by your target audience.  Many people do research by searching on specific hashtags.  By using the hashtag that are of interest to your ideal customer, you can increase the chances of being found.
  2. Improve your clickthrough rates.  Tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those that don't.  
  3. Are great for research.  If you are doing research, it is easy to find great, relevant content by search on specific hashtags.
  4. Become links to search queries.  
  5. Used for humor
How #smallbiz can use hashtags effectively?
  • Uncover the hashtags popular in your industry.
  • Make hashtags part of your regular posts. 
    • Twitter - consider using a tool like Hootsuite to schedule a week's worth of tweets beforehand, using industry-specific hashtags and links.
    • Instagram - make sure your photos and your follow up comments include plenty of relevant hashtags.
  • Start with popular, established hashtags.
    • Facebook - #throwbackthrusday or #tbt
  • Use trending hashtags
Dangers of hashtags - look before your jump into a hashtag to ensure it is used in the right context.

How to use hashtags with different media?
  • Twitter
    • Trending topics
    • Chats - connecting with people on subjects you care about.
    • Events - presentations promote specific hashtags
  • Instagram
    • Hashtags are used to see photos and products with similar content
    • Examples of 
      • Popular tags
        • #OnlineMarketing
        • #SocialMedia
        • #Entrepreneur
        • #BusinessOwner
      • Narrow target
        • #InstagramMarketing
        • #InstagramforBusiness
        • #LearnInstagram
  • Pinterest
    • Brand over bland - use hashtags that are branded for your company, not broad terms like #marketing
    • #WebTechCzar is unique to my business
    • Hashtags are only clickable on the web version of Pinterest; mobile versions are unclickable.
  • Google+
    • Hashtags are used to categorize topic of related content.
    • Using hashtags in your posts
      • Use hashtags by typing them in the text of your post. Here are some examples:
        • “I just learned about these great #VeganCooking tips.”
        • “#Mondays are the worst. #SleepDeprived #SoMuchToDo”
  • YouTube
    • In the comment section.  
    • When you click on the hashtag, it will take you to a search results page with videos that have the same hashtag in the title.
  • Facebook
    • Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar.  Only content that was shared with you will show up.
    • Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
    • Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.


  • Hashtags.org - Find trending, declining, constant trends, and metrics about your social brand
  • Rite Taghashtags get your social media posts found and shared
  • Markr - iOS tool to create visual hashtags for photos and video
  • Statigram - for Instagram hashtags trends and alternatives for hashtag words
  • Tabboard - to search, select and show by using hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Tagdef
  • Trendistic.com
  • Trendsmap -  a visual map to see geographic hashtag trends. As a local business, this is a great way to quickly know what’s trending in your area.
  • Twitter hashtag search