by Gary Smith for Imaginet
So, what exactly are hashtags?
Hashtags are created simply by placing the hashtag sign # in front of a theme or subject that you find interesting or want to promote. For example, if you are interested in finding information on a certain topic like social media, you can search for #socialmedia – and if you want to promote an article you have written or a product then placing a hashtag in front of the keyword in the title increases the chances of that post being seen by others. However, hashtag are becoming more prevalent and are increasing in sophistication, with the result that various tools and applications are needed to find out which hashtags are appropriate and which are trending in order to optimize your posts for search and promotion.
Hashtags were initially popularized on Twitter but are now used to disseminate information and share and promote ideas and products on most social networks, with the recent inclusion of Facebook hashtags.
In essence hashtags are an effective way of promoting your product or brand and also a way to gain new clients and customers.
How Hashtags are used
Hashtags are used to monitor a certain topic. For instance, if one follows or monitors a certain #hashtag on twitter, one will see the latest tweets on this topic or rather those posts that have included this hashtag.
In other words, if you are interested in the latest news and views on a certain subject, one can search Twitter, as well as other networks like Google Plus and Facebook that allow for hashtags. Of course this is also a way of promoting the latest news on your business products or services.
Hashtags can also “trend” or become very popular. Trending hashtags are excellent way of promoting a new products. If you want to see which hashtags are trending at the moment visit Hasgtags.org or the very user-friendly Tagdef.com. Tagdef.com provides a description of the meaning and the origins of the particular hashtag; as well as helping you find popular and related hashtags.
Hashtags on Facebook
Facebook recently began providing support for hashtags. Theses hashtags appear as links that can be clicked on – which results in a search for the hashtag on Facebook in terms of pubic updates. (Please note, that at the time that this facility was still being “rolled out” and not everyone has it yet). You can also go to a hashtag page using the URL facebook.com/hashtag/nameofhashtag. At present however there is no way in Facebook to track hashtags, but this will most likely be remedied as new features are added.
Hashtags are used ostensible for finding information and posts on a related topic in Google Plus. If you post a new update, Google Plus automatically includes a hashtag related to the content of your post. You can however customize this. Those hashtags with a blue background have been added by Google and those with a grey background by the author of the post. In essence, your posts are more likely to be noticed if they related to a popular hashtag.
Hashtags are ideal for promoting content
Hashtags can be used in Facebook or Google Plus as an instant way of sharing and promoting content. For example, in your Facebbok or Google Plus update you can insert a hasgtag – e.g. How to promote your #ebook . Clicking on a hashtag on Facebook will bring up a lightbox which will display the people and pages who have used the same hashtag – and of course you will be to join conversations via public posts. Google Plus is particularly useful in this regard. Clicking on a hashtag for #seo on a post brings up a section of the interface that allows one to flip through the post relating to this hashtag.
Hashtags are becoming a very useful method of finding, curating and sharing information – as well as promoting your product or service. It is also a field that is developing and becoming more complex. Future articles will look at aspects such as hashtag etiquette and new applications that provide improved methods of working with hashtags.
GaryBruce Smith is a freelance writer and artist. View his Google Plus profile.
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