by Trina Johnson
When Twitter first introduced the hashtag as a way to link similar information together, it was quickly adopted by Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and most other social media sites. Do a search on any of these sites for a particular hashtag phrase, and you will be get lists of other people and organizations that are discussing topics similar to yours. You can then connect with them, follow them, and review their activities.
What is a hashtag? It's simply a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign that gives context to the tweet or post. Much like the @ symbol is universally accepted in email addresses, the # symbol has been adopted by the masses to mean “this is how I categorize this information.”
The best hashtags are words or phrases that mean something specific for your business, but can also be applied to a larger audience. For instance, the hashtag #eatorganic on Twitter pulls up hundreds of tweets about organic foods, farmer's markets, recipes, and many health-related organizations and individuals. If you are interested in those products, you can see lots of information all in one place.
One of the best uses of a hashtag is to promote an event. If you use your event hashtag consistently throughout the lead-up to your event, your audience can quickly search and find all the information you have posted and promoted in one stream. That helps your team see where your promotions have been and your audience can stay informed on all the latest news. And then during and after the event, you can encourage all attendees to make comments using the hashtag. You'll then be able to see everyone's comments altogether instead of spread out in your news feed. If you get a big enough audience all posting and tweeting about a specific hashtag, you can appear on various “trending” reports, which will create more views and comments.
You can officially register a hashtag on the site Twubs.com or on Hashtag.org. By registering the hashtag, you will be acknowledged as the originator and be able to include a description and information about your product or service to be associated with the hashtag. Once it is registered, you need to use it, and encourage your followers to use it.
Of course, you can overuse hashtags and or create a hashtag that does nothing to enhance your business. Like everything you do on the internet, it's best to start with a little research and find a keyword or phrase that ties to your business that is used by others you want to be associated with.