Hashtags. What are they? What do they do? And why do I keep seeing them pop up during TV shows?

Hashtags all kicked off on Twitter but due to their popularity have been cropping up on most other forms of social media. Despite being so common place and their general recognition, we still see people either misusing them and others (like my dad) who don’t even know what they are! Never fear though, we’re here to break down the basics.

What is a Hashtag?

Hashtag is a short word or phrase that has hash symbol prefixed to it to emphasize a particular message. For instance, if you are posting a message promoting your business or an offer you are running, you might add something like #EstateApps  or #SummerSale.

Why would I use that?

A Hashtag is a fast way to increase the chance of your post being seen by a new audience. Everyone seems to be going crazy for “The Great British Bake Off” of late, by adding #GBBO to your tweet, you’ll now be found by anyone searching for, or already talking about the show. The exact same mentality goes for something like #Property or #PropTech.

You’re more likely to be found by people who are interested in what you have to say, building a better community for your brand.

Teach me how to #Hashtag!

There’s a lot of people of there who don’t Hashtag correctly. There are certain rules and best practices when it comes to tagging your posts. Here’s some top tips to save you from common social media faux pas:

Don’t touch that space bar

A space indicates the end of a Hashtag. For example “#Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would” only result in a Hashtag for “teenage” and you probably don’t want that… Hashtagging each part of the word doesn’t work either as you’d end up in searches for teenagers, mutants, ninjas and turtles which is probably not the audiences you’re looking for. Instead, keep it all one word but capitalize each part to make it easy to read #TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.

Sorry grammar police, no punctuation!

Punctuation, or any special characters for that matter, also breaks up a Hashtag. For example if you we’re going to tweet about the new high-tech system you have in place, the Hashtag would be #HighTech. #High-tech would result in people finding you associated with #High which again, may not be the business image you want.

Keep it short

Hashtags need to be easy to read. They’re generally used in a post that takes seconds to read so difficult ones tend to get skipped over. So instead of #ComeToEstateAppsWereTheBestAndCanMakeYouAnAwesomeWebsiteAlsoWeHaveASaleOn we’d use something like #EAWebsiteSale.

Using long Hashtags however can be used to comical effect. Other than my (hilarious) example above, Taylor Swift tweeted #IDontKnowWhatHashtagsAreOrDo which was shared and created a joke in her community.

Keep it relevant

Nothing is worse than the companies that add a trending topic to their updates for more views. Today for example #NationalBurgerDay is trending. People are using it to brag about the burgers they’re going to eat and restaurants are getting involved to promote the food they offer.

What some people are doing though is hijacking the trend for irrelevant content, for example “Ibiza club bangers all-nighter TONIGHT! #NationalBurgerDay”. No one wants to see it and you’ll be a nuisance.

Create your own Hashtag

Do you have an offer and you want people to discuss it? Start a Hashtag and ask other people to use it too. Not only will this go to your audience, but it’ll get to your followers followers too.

An easy example of this is “we’re giving away a bottle of wine! Want a chance to win? Tweet us with #EAWine to enter”. It’s simple; it’s easy to engage with and will result in a wider audience seeing your Hashtag thanks to your followers participation. Simple! Just be sure that someone else hasn’t used it for something else.

Notable faux pas: Susan Boyle (remember her?) created a Hashtag for one of her new albums a while ago when she decided to throw a launch party. I can’t repeat what the tag actually read here but I’m sure a quick Google search will show it. (Be warned though, possibly NSFW)

Now you have these #TopTips I don’t want to see any of you messing up! However, if this has left you a little #Confused and you’re sitting there having a #HeadScratch, get in touch! At Estate Apps we’ll be happy to help!