What the Heck is a #Hashtag?

If you are new to Twitter, you’re probably wondering why everyone keeps putting number signs in front of everything. It’s even made its way on to Facebook now. So what are these pound signs all about?

In the social media world, this symbol # is called the hashtag. The easiest way to think about it is as a signal to the world what your tweet (or Facebook post) is about.

How Does a Hashtag Work?

To go deeper, first we have to step back. Everything you put on Twitter is publicly available to the world. But to find your needle in the haystack of tweets, a person needs to “Follow” you or search for your post.

Hashtags tell the Twitter search engines to include your post in certain searches. For example, the title of this post, “What the Heck is a Hashtag?” would show up in searches for “hashtag.” But the post is about more than that. It also about social media marketing and Twitter. So to make the article show up in a Twitter search, I added the hashtags: #twitter and #socialmediamarketing.

How Do You Choose a Hashtag?

Just putting a pound sign in front of a word doesn’t make it a good hashtag. For it to be effective, a hashtag has to be something people search for. Sometimes it’s obvious, like #socialmediamarketing. Sometimes it’s trendy, like #whyIstayed or #HeforShe.

To find the best hashtags you can browse Twitter, searching for your topics and seeing what other people are using. You can also use websites like Hashtags.org, which track the popularity of hashtags to pick the right word or phrase.

Getting noticed on Twitter is all about entering the right conversations. You can do that by labeling your posts with effective hashtags. If you need help tagging your blog posts, contact ghostblogger and blogging coach Lisa Schmidt to set up a meeting today.

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