Some people love them, some people hate them and others have no idea what it’s all about. You may fall into one of those categories and you may float somewhere in between. Hashtags are easy to create, you use the # symbol and then write a word, words or phrases with no capitalization or spaces. #hashtagsareeasy Not always easy to read, but easy to create.
The reality is, hashtags are here to stay. or… #heretostay
SO… here are a few ideas about how to #makepeace with the reality of hashtags.
1. Hashtags actually serve a purpose.
Some people think hashtags are completely random made up things that have been put on the internet with the sole purpose of annoying them. (To them, I say – it’s really not all about you. 🙂 ) There are times when they are right – people will just put a phrase with no spaces after a # just because they feel like it, they think they should, or they want to poke their friends that they know get annoyed by hashtags. (#innercircle #youknowwhoyouare 😉 )
However – hashtags really CAN work for you! Hashtags are a way to search for related things on social media.
When we have an Ask Call for example, I tell artists on Twitter to use #ask_art so I can see who is talking about the call. By doing a search for that hashtag, or creating a # column in Hootsuite, you can make new friends and follow the conversation. On Twitter it is a great way to create community and follow a topic whether you follow a person or not.
In Hootsuite I also created a column to follow #surtex so I can see who is talking about the show, what is going on, and to get to know other exhibitors long before we ever land in NYC. You can see what that looks like in the picture to the left. You can see how Alex Colombo and I had a little conversation about the show – I might have missed her post if I wasn’t on Twitter without the #surtex keyword search (using Hootsuite to see my Twitter – it’s confusing if you don’t use it).
2. You can use hashtags on Google searches to find topics on social media.
Here is a screenshot of a search for #summer – it shows links to Instagram, tumblr, facebook and more. Hastags search for topics on social media instead of everything about summer on the web. Look at the difference in results when I search for #summer vs summer.
3. You can use hashtags to your advantage.
THIS is why hashtags are more than just fun and games. (Even though I admit to making up random ones sometimes – I am also strategic about them too) Hashtags can help get your social media message seen.
Use popular hashtags to your advantage
Look for hashtags being used by groups of people you want to connect with, create relevant posts or content and join the conversation by using the hashtag too. Are you a quilter? Search #quilter to see who you find. Want to connect with them? Put #quilter in your posts too.
I must admit I’m not always the best about using #artlicensing but after writing this post I plan to get better. 🙂
Create your own hashtags to start and manage conversations
While you can’t stop others from using a hashtag you begin to use for a conversation, you can start to ‘train your audience’ to look for things you post based on your common hashtags. Using the #ask_art for the Ask Calls is the perfect example.
While I don’t profess to be a hashtag expert – these are a few things I do know and thought I’d share. To wrap it up and give you a laugh, be sure to watch this SNL video about hashtags. #extremeoveruseofhashtags
Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed