Hashtagging.  It sounds like some sort of futuristic tracking method used by Big Brother.  Has your daughter or son been hashtagged?  Call this 1-800 number to register them today!

Most of us know that a hashtag, in social media terms, is a pound [#] sign, used before a word, phrase or meme to help sort and categorize a topic.  Hashtags originated on Twitter and are now also used on other social platforms.  So how do you know where to use them and how?

Here are a few social channels that use Hashtags:

  • A great place to use tags is on Instagram.  When posting a photo to Instagram, publish it using hashtags in your description.  Have you heard of #jj or #instadaily? These are just some examples of Instagram tags that not only better categorize your photos, they link you to some of the best IGers in the mobileverse – and that’s a growing, powerful network.  This past summer, Mashable.com wrote a great article listing the 20 best tags on Instagram. [hyperlink http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/most-popular-instagram-tags/]
  • If you use a blogging platformlike WordPress or Tumblr you might be converting published posts to be sent out as tweets automatically.  If you do, pay attention to your blog title and optimize it for a tweet – in other words, that might include using a hashtag in the title.
  • Finally, keep using hashtags on Twitter.  It’s the best way to make your tweets appear to a larger audience.  Follow an event, attend a chat, tweet live – hashtags help organize and filter conversations instantly.  For example, Obama and Romney’s debate this week was followed on Twitter using the hashtag #debates and some networks created their own, like CNN using #CNNDebate.


Checklist for using #hashtags:

Creating your own hashtag is a good idea for brands who are promoting a campaign, an event, or product that is new, or to generate buzz.  Create something catchy, easy to understand and less than 14 characters.  Just don’t pull a McDonald’s.  Research your hashtag first.  Don’t let your hashtag turn into a #crashtag!


 Finding one that already exists allows you to jump into an existing conversation.  If you search the topic in Twitter or Google, you’ll find a trending hashtag that dominates.  I like using Hashtags.org as a kickoff point for inspiration.  If you don’t know what a hashtag means, type it in here.

Don’t go hash-crazy.  Too many tags water down your message and make you look desperate for reach.  There is no right number, but if you minimize tags but really nail down your wording, you’ll draw the right audience.

Did you know that there are free tools that measure hashtag use?  I use Hashtracking.com.  It lets you generate a free report based on any hashtag out there [whether you created it or not].  The only catch?  It’s a beta tool, so it only measures the past 24 hours.

 Most importantly, have #fun using hashtags in your next #advertising campaign on #socialmedia and don’t forget what #today is… it’s #TBT!

Today’s Social Media Tip of the Week Dictionary:

IGer – someone who posts photos to Instagram, an Instagramer

#instadaily – hashtag used for Instagram, IGers are given a topic and the challenge is to take the best photo of it

#jj – named after the creator’s initials, hashtag users must abide by one rule for each photo they post to generate more engagement

Meme – a trend of a photo/video/subject that the audience has recreated in countless forms [see: Keanu on a bench] http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/keanu-is-sad-sad-keanu

Mobileverse – probably not a real word but probably used before, the mobile universe

#TBT – throw back Thursday 

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