The Wall St. Journal report that Facebook is going to incorporate linked #Hashtags is a nod to how popular they are on other networks. Some people say it’s an art form, some outright hate the idea, some say it’s going to result and a whole lot more targeted ads using hashtags to deliver them. Drew Olanoff says it will open up exploration on Facebook way more than Graph Search.
But what’s a hashtag?
Hashtags started with Twitter as a way for us to focus on specific topics. Although there are some #sillyhashtags, and #Hashtagabuse and some say they’re now useless, I don’t agree.
Hashtags help us follow Twitter chats, the topics we’re most interested in, politics, news and conferences. Here’s a video I did a while back to give you the quick and dirty tutorial on hashtags.
Once hashtags became popular on Twitter, it wasn’t long before they spread to other networks as well. It just makes sense. #Hashtags are now actively in use on Flickr, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Tout, Linkedin and YouTube to name a few.
Hashtags and SEO
It’s pretty well known in the Search Engine Optimization community that using a hashtag on popular social networks can dramatically increase the number of clicks on a link and the associated traffic to your website. If you’re a local business using a hashtag like #SanJose with your post for your #restaurant can reasonably be expected to raise the visibility of your profile and the links and images you post along with it.
It is quite possible to go too far and be tagged a hashtag spammer. This happens often when there is a lot of traffic around a particular tag and people want to tap into that action by inserting an irrelevant (and possibly malicious) link tagged with the same hashtag. Often these aren’t even people but robotic scripts searching for frequently used terms to append their message to. ALWAYS block and report spammers. They’re a plague. Needless to say you don’t wanna be THAT guy.
Hashtags and conferences
How many times have you been to a conference lately and the first slide in the presentation includes the hashtag they’d like you to use when discussing it? This is an excellent way to follow a presenter whether you’re at the conference and in another session or around the world. After the conference click on the hashtag and see a summary of all the discussion.
Memes and news
These days the two things are often inseparable. Evidence the memes around the news of the new pope #Francis which of course spawned, #pope, and my personal favorite #Exbenedict. Of course it’s hugely useful for breaking news. #Earthquake is populated very quickly on Google+ and Twitter whenever there is a tremor, as is #Sequester at the moment.
If you’re posting amazing photos on Instagram and only your friends see them you can reach a much larger audience by simply using a hashtag or two. Some of the most popular hashtags are watched regularly and if you really put up something awesome and a lot of people comment or like it you can reach Instagram fame by having your image show up as one of the most popular listed on the “Explore” tab and be seen by millions of people. One common technique here is to add multiple relevant tags to an image including the popular #nofilter #photooftheday #instamood and #latergram to name a few.
Want to see what people are tagging on your favorite networks? Check out these links:
- Top Hashtags on Instagram
- Tags in Action- Track tags across multiple sites and search engines
- Top Hashtags for education
- Hashtagify.me (very spiffy visualizer)
Oh, and isn’t it interesting that The Wall St Journal finds #Hashtags important enough to write about? The times they are a changing people.