So You Think You Know Hash Tags?

So You Think You Know Hash Tags?

In terms of driving engagement across social media channels, the one thing that’s going to help is understanding hash tags. Without knowing the true intent of their use, you run the risk of losing audience engagement right off the bat.

Due to the rising popularity of the use of the hash tag, spammers have become renowned for using it for public misconception. You do not want to be tarred with the same brush, risking a mass of unfollowers, demoralising your brand name, and railroading your marketing efforts through the barricades at the end of the train line.

Not a pretty sight, and yet it’s something many a business owner is getting wrong. Not through any deliberate malicious efforts on their part, but just by following the trends of perception that “everyone else is doing it”.


That’s why so many businesses are realising the potential of social media marketing, but falling at the last hurdle of getting the message across to their target audience.

The use of the hash tag drives social media. The simplest way to think of the hash tag is to think of it as a topic tag. Whatever your topic is – that’s how people identify the topic of it.

The brazen wrong way to use a hash tag in a post is to link your conversation into a trending topic, despite being nothing related to it.

Search comparison on social media to global search

Of all the ways there are to search for information online, Google is the master, dominating search tenfold. No competitor comes close to the sophisticated algorithms they use, but even a global giant is NOT going to be the master of everything.

While Google, Bing, Yahoo, and every other search engine will crawl the web for information, showing results based on the perception of user intent from the search engine, social media works differently.

It’s because of user intent.

When you go to a search engine and look for something like scrapbooking, you could be looking for anything. It’s broad. It’s going to be advertised on by businesses selling all sorts of supplies, guides, and other goodies.

Search Twitter though, and you’ll find similar results, but the intent is going to be different.

It’s because it’s conversation driven.

Conversation driven equals content engagement, and that’s what drives your social media marketing.

Engaging your audience!

So how do you use hash tags in your updates?

As identifiers to the topic of your tweet, post, or G+ update, is the best way.

They’re identifiers to the search features, letting the site know what you’re page is all about, the topic that should be your business to know about, and stay on that topic. Not moving away from your brand name because you’re following the Twitter Trends or the likes.

Successful online brand promotion

Overall, your hash tag is your brand identity. Use it wisely.

Within the realms of the worldwide web, there’s a magnitude of ways people can use to search for information. Social media is no different. You can use them to track the posts and responses from your competitors, and vice versa, they could be doing the same with you. It happens. Search string “From:@handle” (minus quotation marks) in a Twitter search and every post will be returned. Don’t go bashing people, or let prospects discover your customer care is lacking.

Your company name, and social media handles are all identities. Even the staff in your business should be a professional representation of your business and not diminishing the expectations prospects can have.

The hash tag is important to help people find you online, but overuse can also be compelling enough to steer your potential followers in another direction if red flags rise because of its inappropriate use.

Proper use of the hash tag is to use it as an identifier. Not to link into trending topics that’s completely unrelated. Effective use is how to build an engaged and targeted audience on not only Twitter, but every major social media site, as every one of the big three have adopted the hash tag as a search feature to return related results to their search features.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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