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- Monday, August 26, 2013

Millions of social media users are using hashtags everyday. Multiple social networking platforms have been integrating hashtags into the user experience. Why are they doing this? How can businesses benefit from hashtags?

What Are Hashtags?

The # symbol to many is known as the numerical sign or pound sign. It wasn't until recently the symbol got a new name; Hashtag. The hashtag symbol (#) is used on social networks to highlight key words, phrases & topics within a status. By doing this, you are increasing the ability of your status to be found by users interested in the same key word, phrase or topic. Here's an example how to to use hashtags with our twitter account @OnTheBeatonPath.

History Of Hashtags

Hashtags didn't show up up on Twitter first like everyone thinks. Twitter was the first major social network to integrate them and create popularity. Hashtags have been around since the 80s. They were a part of a platform called the Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC used them similarly to the way many users use hashtags today. Using the same principle that IRC used, Chris Messina began building interest in hashtags within twitter. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and many other social networks have begun using hashtags today.

Businesses Using Hashtags

In my opinion, every business should be using hashtags. It's a great way to gain exposure and create great conversation among your followers. Here's some tips when using hashtags:

  • • Use hashtags for the most relevant key words, phrases or topics.
  • • #Don't #Use #Hashtags #On #Every #Word You will want to use 2-4 hashtags.
  • • Create a unique hashtag for your business and special events which will get your followers to engage
  • • with your profile if executed properly. Monitor the hashtags that are most relevant to your business.

Paul Morrell is a consultant with On The Beaton Path, LLC, a marketing consulting firm near Chicago. For more information, contact paul.morrell@onthebeatonpath.com or (630)967-4566.

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