Using hashtags for good

Nowadays, everyone is using hashtags, but many are unskilled when it comes to using that key formerly known as the pound sign.

Many people make up their own hashtags in hopes that it will become at trending topic, but there are many different popular hashtags you can join on a daily basis.

For example, on Monday you can use the hashtag #MusicMonday to share favorite new (or old!) songs. On Thursday you can use #TBT – also known as Throwback Thursday – to share pictures and stories from years past. Another favorite is #FF – Follow Friday – to connect people with others you find inspiring.

Though there are weekly trending topics like the ones above, it helps to know what is trending in your area, too. Trendsmap gives you the capability of viewing what is trending in your area. Using hashtags helps you connect with other like-minded people and get followers. Hashtags are basically a marketing tool.

So, how do you utilize hashtags for your specific use?

Start by knowing which form of your hashtag gets the most attention. For example #PR or #PublicRelations. From viewing the analytics (see the graphs below) for the week of Aug. 23, 2013, it is evident in the last 24 hours it is evident that #PR would be more beneficial in attempt to attract more spectators to your tweets.

Graph1

Graph2

It is wise to use popular industry hashtags, before creating your own. Once you start building your brand it becomes necessary to create your own hashtags. By creating your own hashtags you attract people to you who are in need of your resources. As you break in your own hashtag, sit back and watch your brand gain benefactors.

When creating your own hashtag, make sure that your hashtags are one word, even if they are more two or three word ideas. For example, #PublicRelations is two words pushed into one with the hashtag.

Don’t put too many words under one hashtag because it begins to look spammy, nevertheless hard to read – which detracts spectators. Also, be sure that your hashtag is as short as possible. On Twitter you only have 140-characters, so long hashtags will keep people away, too.

Another great online tool is hashtags.org. This site allows you to track a trending hashtag, as show in the pictures above. It also gives hashtag definitions, for those questionable trends. What is great about this site, is that you are able to see which hashtags are widely used. If you have created your own hashtag, you can even track it!

When using hashtags, it’s also important to remember to use positive words and phrases. As of Aug. 28, 2013, hashtags have been banned…on Instagram that is. Specific hashtags will be blocked on Instagram to protect users, it is like a censor.

Instagram is trying to steer the culture of their site by refusing to perpetuate pornographic and otherwise offensive or damaging pictures. There is an available list of blocked hashtags if you need to refer to it as a reference before using a hashtag. It won’t be long before other sites like Twitter and Facebook follow suit to Instagram’s new censorship.

Utilize your hashtags to gain publicity for your brand or even yourself. There are great tools available online to assist you with your hashtags, but remember to #KeepItClean when using hashtags. Positive tags are the new fad!

Gabrielle Burgess Smith
Vice President of Public Relations
EMU PRSSA
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