What the # are they?
hash·tag: A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message on social media sites to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.
They are how people search, collect and curate information in Facebook, instagram, twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
They were first used by Chris Messina, a former Goole employee in 2007 – they took a while to catch on, but now they are used everywhere.
They are a way to get your posts found by other people & find what other people are posting about you.
In instagram you can search for all the images with the tag #visitshellharbour – there are 261 posts.
So how do you use a hashtag?
It’s as simple as adding the ‘#’ symbol before a word or phrase in your social media posts.
There is no set list of #hashtags and you don’t need to register one anywhere. You can create your own simply by putting the has before a word or a series of words.
There are a few guidelines to know about:
- Spaces are a no-no! If your hashtag contains multiple words group them all together like #visitshellharbour or you can use caps to differentiate between words (#VisitShellharbour). Using uppercase won’t alter the search results
- Numbers are supported, but punctuation marks and special characters are not, so leave out the ! , * & .
When using hashtags you will want to make sure they are:
- Specific and provide
For tourism businesses, destination (#visitnsw) and activity specific (#whaleon) hashtags are more effective than generic hashtags (#family).
You can use a combination of both, just make sure they are relevant to your post.
Don’t #hashtag #bomb #berestrained & #relevant
What #hashtags should you use?
Try your destination hashtag and the hashtags of Destination NSW and Tourism Australia, then create a tag for your business. Here’s a few to get you started
#restaurantaustralia (that’s Tourism Australia’s food & wine campaign’s hashtag)
Tourism Australia and Destination NSW curate their social media content. This means they are searching for content that they can share – using their hashtags will make you more likely to be found by them and shared to their millions of fans!
Keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different.
Using @ before a person’s Twitter or Instagram handle will let them know you have posted about them.
Using @ before a facebook page name (@shellharbour)will create a link to that facebook page in your post and is a great way to promote other business and experiences within your destination.
A hashtag will not. A hashtag just makes your post searchable. You can use both a hashtag and a tag in a post like this one from @Australia