Here’s How to Use Hashtags!

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More than a thousand words have been added to the dictionary last year alone and thousands more have been added over the past few decades, all thanks to social media; but few are as popular, widely used and accepted as the ‘hashtag’.

It has existed for a long time earlier too and was known simply as the ‘pound’ (#) symbol. Yup, the one you use in some online transactions. While initially, hashtags were made popular by Twitter, they are everywhere now and are used on major social networks, including Facebook and Instagram.

Let us explore what a hashtag really is, what makes them so immensely great, and of course how they work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and how you should use them!

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What is a ‘hashtag’?
A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #ThrowbackThursday or #LyricalWednesday are both hashtags. You can use these hashtags anywhere and everywhere in your social media posts; in the beginning, anywhere in between or at the end.

What does a ‘hashtag’ do?
Well, it’s plain and simple. The way the backend of each social platform works is that these hashtags tie conversations from all different users into one single stream and which are easily accessible when you search for a hashtag, clicking on one, or by using a third-party monitoring tool. The post has to be public in order for it to appear in anyone’s search.

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What makes hashtags so great?
In 2007 hashtags were a brand new concept and what makes it still great is that the ‘channel’ concept of hashtags satisfies many of the things group discussions do. They are easily accessible with the syntax on social media networks, easy to learn, flexible and work with user behaviours and work on phones (unlike the star key).

The hashtag continues to thrive and are a great way for anyone to make their posts visible and at the same time increase engagement while connecting posts and images together. The important thing is to use hashtags carefully and only when you think they add value. If you use them too much they can be confusing.

So, how many is too many? How long should they be? Where should you use them? And perhaps most importantly, why should you use them? Read on and learn more about how to use them on three different platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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How it works on Twitter
A hashtag here helps tie up the conversations of any number of different users into one stream. Even if users who are not connected to one another, talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag then their tweets will appear in the same stream.

How to use hashtags on Twitter
Whether you want to start a new conversation or get involved in an existing one, use a hashtag and publish the tweet from a public account that includes the hashtag.

How to find hashtags on Twitter
If you know the hashtag you want to search for, there are four main ways to search for it; a simple search, an advanced search, monitoring using a third-party tool or by simply typing it directly into the URL.

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How do hashtags work on Facebook
Similar to the Twitter platform, a Facebook hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream. The only difference here is that unlike Twitter and Instagram, where many people have public accounts and their posts can be seen by anyone, most Facebook posts and accounts are private. If the posts are private then even if individuals are using hashtags, they are not searchable.

How to use hashtags on Facebook
All you have to do is publish a Facebook post to your page or timeline that includes the hashtag. But before that be sure that your post is public if you want people other than your Facebook friends to find it. To make a Facebook post public, click on the button to the right of ‘Post’ and choose ‘Public’ from the dropdown menu and once you publish the post, the hashtag becomes a clickable link, which leads to the hashtag page.

How to find hashtags on Facebook
If you already know the hashtag you want to search for, there are two main ways to search for it; a simple search or by typing it directly into the URL.

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How hashtags work on Instagram
An Instagram hashtag also ties the conversations of different users into one stream, just like Twitter and Facebook. If Instagram users who are not otherwise connected to one another talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their posts will appear in the same stream.

How to use hashtags on Instagram
If you want to get involved in the conversation or start your own, use a hashtag and publish it from a public account that includes the hashtag.

How to find hashtags on Instagram
The only way to search for a hashtag is through a simple search. You can do a simple search and toggle your results by ‘Tags’.

Did you know? While hashtags did not actually get popular (with the help of Twitter) until after 2007, they were actually first used during the late 90s to categorize items into groups on IRC (Internet Relay Chat).

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