I should start off this post with a quick administrative note. I’ve been posting to this blog 2-3 times a week for the last, oh, 7 years or so, and this month, I’m shaking it up a little. I’m doing a blogging experiment, but I’m not doing it on this blog, I’m doing it over on my cooking blog, CookingByLaptop.com. I, along with a few other bloggers, are doing a December blogging challenge, where we each commit to a certain amount of posts that we are going to produce per week. It could be 1, it could be 5. I, of course, have foolishly chosen the latter.
But I’m doing it for you guys! I want to see how posting 5x a week will affect my traffic. Expect to see a blog post on this in the new year.
What that means for this blog, is, I’m going to be posting a little less here, probably just a couple of times a week, Tuesday/Thursday.
Now, to the business at hand!
Hashtags are made of awesome. I should modify that statement, though. Hashtags are made of awesome when they are used in the right place, and in the right way.
Facebook, for example, has hashtags, but they don’t really work there. The do work excellently, however, on both Twitter and Instagram, and that’s what I’m going to focus on today.
So, if you are familiar with that little pound sign (#), but you don’t really know what it does, let me explain. Hashtags are used to classify and search.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re watching a Canucks game, and Alex Burrows makes a particularly spectacular pass that ends up in a goal (lookit me talking about hockey like I understand it!). You might want to tweet something about the pass, the goal, or Alex. When you do, you hashtag your tweet somewhere (usually at the end) with #Canucks, and send it.
What happens next is magic. Anyone who is on Twitter at that time can be doing a hashtag search for the word #Canucks, and they may see your tweet. They can now respond to you, follow you, put you on a list, etc. The joy of hashtags is that they thematically link tweets, so you can see what people with whom you have things in common (love of hockey) have to say, without having to be following them. It allows you to discover new, cool peeps, and to be discovered by new, cool peeps.
Hashtags can also be great for your business. If you find the right one, it can bring all kinds of search traffic to you.
Here’s a word of warning, though: don’t overuse them. For example, #dont #hashtag #every #word #in #your #sentience (it’s really distracting), and try to keep your hashtags to a max of about 3 per tweet. You don’t need to use a hashtag on every tweet. Also, keep your hashtags relevant. Yes, #JustinBeiber might be a great hashtag with lots of traffic, but don’t use it unless you actually are talking about #TheBeibs. What I’m saying is, don’t hijack hashtags.
One last thing that confuses a lot of people about hashtags: they can be completely made-up. On the spot. And ironic. So, if you see one that looks a little strange, don’t take it too seriously, as it’s probably meant as a joke. #HashtagginAllDayLong
There’s lots more information in today’s infographic. Check it out. Now get out there and do some hashtaggin’!
Infographic courtesy of Huffington Post.