What Is A Hashtag And How Do I Use It?

I recently wrote an email to a business owner who asked my advice on social media marketing. The following is excerpted from what I sent him:

What is a hashtag?

HowToUseAHashtagHashtags are a way to sort posts. If you make a post about a Taylor Swift concert, you can categorize it by adding  “#TaylorSwift” to the end of the post. That post is now collected with all the other “#TaylorSwift” posts. You can easily interact with others who share my interests because you can view posts with that hashtag. You gain exposure because Taylor Swift fans want to see what people say about her.

How do I use hashtags well?

Example: There is a company who puts a camera in Time Square. Anyone who walks by is projected on a huge screen and if you stand around, you can have your picture taken (usually with the crowds of people that gather around you). Those photos get uploaded to an instagram account with some hashtag that they showed on the screen. If I want to be included in that instagram account, I can A) go to Time Square and get my picture taken, or B) post a picture on instagram with the hashtag that they use. A lot of people do this which of course spreads the company to all their friends.

 
Example: Large event planners come up with a hashtag for their event. The people who go to that large event are prompted to use the hashtag.  It works. If I’m at a concert that has a hashtag, I’ll either look to see what people are saying, or I’ll contribute.
 

 
Example: Find large events with your target audience. Make a post about it using a relevant hashtag.
Example: If you know of a large bike or charity event going on say something like “Good luck to all the cyclists at the #BikeForCharity2015! We salute you.”
 

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