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Dos and Don'ts of Using Hashtags on Social Media

Puja More
From posts and images to comments on social media, the hashtag has become a must. But many people are still confused about the dos and don'ts of using hashtags. While, many others simply ignore the etiquette of using hashtags.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a symbol(#) used before a particular keyword. It was invented by Twitter to make words or links searchable and linkable.
Chris Messina is credited for using the first ever hashtag on August 23, 2007, to gather discussion on Barcamps. After that, Twitter began using the symbol #(hash) in front of words and phrases to form groups within themselves. In 2009, they started hyperlinking these tags, forming a huge web of links present today.

Dos and Don'ts of Using a Hashtag

Almost every active social bee is using a hashtag these days, but many use it blindly. Social media may not have bound its users in any rules, but we should make some keynotes for ourselves while using new tools, so as to help maintain their objective. A hashtag is a very intelligent invention, therefore, while using it, we should follow specific etiquette.
★ The keywords we use in our tags should be explicit and self-explanatory. Remember, when we hashtag a word, it is linked to every tag featuring that word. For example, if we use #happy, then every tag having the keyword happy is connected to it.
★ Words are a powerful medium of expression, if used intelligently. The words we hashtag should be used skillfully to explain our point, and must be relevant to our topic. For example, if you want to talk about dog health, then create the tag #doghealth, instead of #dog #health.
★ The placing of a hashtag is as important as the keywords used in it. You may lose the relevance of the tags if they are used inappropriately.
★ If you are creating your own tag, then create significant content first. Use words that have never been used before or are rarely used, but don't lose its purpose. Otherwise, you'll end up tagging 'quill' when you want to tag 'pen' in the craze of creating distinct tags.
Be careful about spellings while tagging. Proofread your tags before posting them. A wrong spelling may mislead your post.
★ Suppose there is a post,"See a good veterinarian for the good health of your dog. #doghealth #health #goodveterinarian #dog #goodhealth #veterinarianfordogs #animals #doctors #doctorsforanimals". This looks like the person is overexcited about tags, and this has made the post tacky. So, don't use too many tags in your post unnecessarily.
★ If you tag each word in your post, it might look something like - "The #doctor #prescribed a #good #medicine for #cold, #cough, and #fever." Is this statement readable or sensible with each word tagged? Eventually, the advise is, don't tag each word in your post; you might sound like a hashtag maniac.
★ When we hashtag a statement, we are not supposed to use spaces in between the word. If you do that, you tag only the first word and not the rest. For example, if you want to tag 'having fun', you tag it like #HavingFun and not like #having fun. In the latter, you are only tagging 'having', and not 'having fun'.
★ A hashtag can have alphabets (in both cases) and numbers, but punctuation marks cannot be used. Thus, commas, exclamations, hyphens, etc., are not used.
The use of @ symbol is completely different than that of # symbol. The @ tag is used in front of a name, and it directly tweets to the person or organization, while the #tag won't do that. If you use #Ana, then it's tagging Ana in the post, and using @Ana will tweet your post to Ana.

How does a hashtag work?

When you click on any hashtag in a post, all the public posts that contain that hashtag opens in front of you.
This is useful for small businesses, as it helps getting their content in front of a large audience without spending a fortune. If someone searches for the hashtag you used on social media, your post as well as your profile can be found by someone whom you wouldn't have ever met.

Networks that use hashtag

The hashtag buzz began with one social networking site, and was adopted by many later. Enjoy #tagging!!!