This is a hash: #
You might also know it as “pound” or the “number sign.”
This is a hashtag: #hashtagsforthewin
It is, simply put, a word or phrase (without spaces or punctuation) preceded by a hash sign.
How It Works
If you’re using social media to make your brand more discoverable on the web, hashtags give you a simple way to index certain topics, products or services.
Twitter was the first to use hashtags so Tweeters could categorize each post, making it easier for users to follow certain topics across the Twittersphere. By simply clicking on a hashtag included at the beginning, middle, or end of a Tweet, the user can view a feed of the most recent mentions of that hashtag.
Today, the same concept applies to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
A Few Simple Hashtag Strategies
1. Less is more
Try to include one branded hashtag in every post along with a few topic-specific hashtags. It’s generally better to use a few relevant hashtags than to throw a long list of hashtags (say, eight or more) in a misguided attempt to show up in as many categories as possible.
2. Short and memorable wins the day
Generally, the shorter your hashtag, the better. However, don’t make it so short that it isn’t memorable or truly representative of the topic.
3. Use a hashtag search tool
There are plenty of free hashtag search tools online (AllHashtag, HashAtIt, Hashtagify) that help you find what hashtags are already in use and which are the most popular. Some tools also have hashtag generators to help you create new hashtags for your brand. When relevant to the post, don’t forget to include hashtags with local or seasonal themes.