Undoubtedly you have seen someone on social media use hashtags at some point. If you haven’t just follow Nicely Done Sites or its grand poobah David Brooks and you will. You may have embraced their usage or you may not have. Like with many things they are a great way to promote you or your business and the best part is their usage is free. You don’t need to use them but they can help you and that is the subject of today’s post.

What Are Hashtags Exactly?

When you see the # sign what do you think of? You might think of the number sign or a tic-tac-toe board and that is indeed the sign for them. It is also the hashtag that has become a key feature on social media. We may know it as the pound sign here in the US but in the UK it is known as the hash. It has been used in programming to denote special keywords among many other things.

Originally they were intended to make it easier for the average user to group and search posts on Twitter and date back to 2007. The idea was not accepted by Twitter claiming that it was only for nerds but the user base saw the potential and began to use them. In 2009 hashtags were given hyperlink status and use exploded onto other platforms. They are used to draw attention to something, to promote something and to make posts easier to organize. They made it easier for people to find, follow and be a part of conversations on Twitter and other platforms as well.

Anyone Can Use A Hashtag

You do not need to be an uber-social media nerd to use hashtags. Yes, your children (or grandchildren) may be more proficient with them than you are but they are easy to learn. You can even create your own. All you have to do is put the # sign in from of a word and observe three simple rules: 1) no spaces 2) no punctuation and 3) no special characters. Capitalization does not matter but you can capitalize letters for better readability in the post.

How Can You Benefit From Hashtags?

You have a target audience that you want to reach on social media. Many of them are social media savvy and fully understand the use of hashtags. If you begin including hashtags in your posts you will be able to reach them as they follow those specific hashtags. By including the right hashtags you can potentially get double the amount of clicks. 

They help to group related posts making them easier to find. That’s great if you are trying to find something on the Internet, or of course if your potential customers are trying to find something. They help to narrow down relevant content saving you time. Clicking on them can take you or your potential customers to a search query that will display other uses of the hashtag.

Hashtags finally can also help you to show some personality. In the right circumstances they can be used as humor giving you the digital equivalent of a rimshot in your posts. Make the humor tasteful of course as this can be a fine line to walk.

So What Are The Right Hashtags?

What are the right hashtags to use for your business? Obviously you want them to be industry specific. Promoting a hashtag for something that is completely unrelated is not going to give you the desired results. A web search can help to pick out relevant hashtags and there are several services that can help you pick out popular or trending ones. 

Once you have a group of hashtags to use, include them in your posts frequently. Don’t be afraid to have a core group of hashtags that you use frequently and also don’t be afraid to jump on trending hashtags. That will of course mean that you have to pay attention to trending hashtags with the understanding that they will be for short term usage. Just don’t overdo it, too many hashtags can clutter a post and you will lose the desired effect. And of course you will always want your content to be relevant and easy to read and understand.

This one small effort can potentially generate for you twice as many viewers on social media. If you know the right hashtags that is a quick and easy way to do that. There is no one simple way to #promoteyourbusiness than using hashtags. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try, you don’t have much to lose and you could have a lot to gain.

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