Many people always ask me what is the use of hashtags and how to use them. Can they help your business? Of course they can!

Based on Wikipedia, this is the definition of a hashtag.

hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (“”). It is a form of metadata tag. Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, VK or Instagram may be tagged by putting “#” before them, either as they appear in a sentence, (e.g., “New artists announced for #SXSW2014 Music Festival”)or appended to it.

Hashtags make it possible to group such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. A hashtag is only connected to a specific medium and can therefore not be linked and connected to pictures or messages from different platforms.

Because of its widespread use, the word was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014!

Simply put, they enable content on social media platforms to be categorized. For instance, if I was to post a picture of my dog on Instagram, I would hashtag it with #dogs, #doggie, #shihtzu, #cute, etc. This helps when people search for “dogs” on Instagram, they will see my photo amongst the many others by other users on Instagram. It works the same for businesses. Say I am a restaurant owner, I can tweet “Changes in our menu, expect great #food and special #cocktails, come and try them now!”.

So now that you know what are the uses of hashtags, let me share with you some tools to increase your efficiency and effectiveness incorporating them.

– Tagboard
Any social media strategy would need research, to monitor what is being said about your company, your competitors or certain specific topics of your interest. If I type “audi”, this will be what I see (refer to image below). Tagboard will show posts from all major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc.

2. Which hashtags to use
 – Topsy
Have the content you will be posting, but unsure which hashtags to tag it with? Find the most searched hashtags based on your content topic. Topsy database has every tweet archived since 2006! It’s most useful feature it the trend analytics similar to Google’s. You can compare up to 3 hashtags at a time.

3. Hashtags you can use for a particular topic
 – Hashtagify
To make life simpler, hashtagify helps you to figure out which are the relevant hashtags you can use for your particular topic! Do not miss out on any opportunity for more reach. Sweet! If I wanted to find relevant hashtags on food, this will be what I’ll get:

4. Optimize your hashtags – Rite tag
Analyze your past successes, see which hashtags worked best and which didn’t. Rite tag helps to review your tags. This will be what you will be shown (refer below). Rite tag audits your tweets and analyzes which hashtags provide you with higher changes of being discovered

You can also find out which hashtags give you the most tweets and retweets:

5. Who’s who of hahtags – TweetBinder
It is always good to know who is active in your community or industry. This knowledge helps you decide who to reach out for help, collaborations, sales or to connect with. TweetBinder shows you the demographics and top influencers of hashtags.

Now have fun playing around with the tools!

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