Anyone who deals with social networks at least occasionally has seen strange, often indigestible signs with a “hash” sign in front. What is this anyway? Ask any student, and he will answer you that these are hashtags, if you explain in simple words, then these are special tags for the convenience of finding publications.
What are these strange hashtags for? Who came up with the idea to put # in front of words and, most importantly, why? Is this a ridiculous fashion or a useful feature? Let’s figure it out.
How the grandiose procession of the # sign on the Internet began
The sign “hash” (#) in Russia became famous with the advent of push-button telephones, by clicking on this button, it was possible to connect certain functions. In some countries, this was how the number sign was designated (in our country it is traditionally “No.”), and in the absence of a special pound sign on the keyboard in the UK, “#” would replace “£”.
The lattice was called differently – octortop, hash, sharp, etc. – but none of them took root.
The revolutionary coup happened in 2007. The man who turned the world upside down was a simple developer from the Mozilla Firefox team, Chris Messina.
The idea for hashtags came to him quite by accident, when his friends went to a festival in Austin, and he stayed at home in San Francisco. By that time, they were constantly using the recently appeared Twitter, messages were in a stream, it was impossible to determine the context, each participant wrote as if everyone else was in the subject.
There is a need to filter content, separate the main and secondary for each user, and make the context of messages clear.
Cell phones then were mostly push-button, the # sign was present on all devices, and Chris Messina came up with a key word with a “hash”, put it in the message itself to indicate the subject.
Chris offered his idea to the Twitter team, but they didn’t appreciate it at first. But users liked the offer, after some time third-party developers made a search on hashtags for Twitter. From that moment, resistance became useless, a simple grid with a word became the key to finding the necessary information, without which modern social networks are already unthinkable.
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What are hashtags for
Imagine that before the emergence of the now well-known company Google in 1998, there were no search engines on the Internet, except perhaps an attempt to create a directory of sites. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, within the framework of their scientific work, solved the problem of organizing information on the network. Today, working on the Internet is unthinkable without search engines.
But in 2006, fundamentally new formats for communication – Twitter and Facebook – entered the arena, which turned the idea of the possibilities of the Internet upside down. The era of social networks has come. And there was a problem of finding the necessary information within these platforms.
Hashtags were created as tags to indicate the topic, context of a Twitter message, but now they have become a universal tool for all social networks.
If you need information, for example, about snow removal in St. Petersburg, then you will go to your favorite search engine and type “snow removal St. Petersburg” in the search bar.
The search engine will give links to all sites where the keyword you specified is found. Yandex found 85 million mentions.
But what to do inside a social network, where information can be much more relevant than on sites? Fresh photos, comments, posts – none of this is available through conventional search engines.
This is where the hashtag comes in. In fact, this is a hyperlink, by clicking on which, the user will see all publications with the same label within the network. For example, on Instagram, under the hashtag # cleankasnegaspb, we find 200 posts.
Finding Information isn’t the only use of hashtags. They have long been a powerful tool for account promotion bloggers. A well-chosen hashtag will raise your post to high levels of the rating, and it will be seen by more users.
Hashtags are often used to create a new trend , a fashion trend in completely different fields. For example, if we enter the trend hashtag #loopatabeglova on Instagram instead of #cleaningkasnegaspb, the picture will change, the number of found publications will increase several times.
How to write a hashtag correctly
With that, what is a hashtag , we figured out, this is, in general, an ordinary hyperlink on social networks, and now let’s see how to write it correctly. The formal requirements for writing hashtags are extremely simple:
- a word is preceded by a # without a space (# deleted);
- between words there should be no spaces, punctuation marks, etc. (# prodalenku), any space or sign breaks the hashtag (for example, if you write # about the remote, then the search will only work on the #pro tag);
- if you still need to visually separate words, then you are allowed to use underscore (# pro_dalenku);
hashtags cannot be made from one letter (# i) or from only numbers without letters (# 666);
- you can use letters of the Latin and Russian alphabets, at least separately, at least mixed, but if your message is addressed to a Russian-speaking audience, then it is more efficient to use the Cyrillic alphabet, if your interests extend to foreign users, the Cyrillic alphabet will be useless (# pro-remover);
- uppercase and lowercase letters are acceptable, they will be perceived by the search program as the same, and you will be able to visually separate the words in a long hashtag (#ProUdalenkuInteresting = #Prodalenkuinteresting);
- be attentive to errors and typos – even one wrong letter will lead you to publications via another hyperlink. i>
I know from myself that # texts interspersed with # thousands of different # hashtags are incredibly annoying. # It is simply # impossible to read such visual garbage. In order not to alienate # the public, # you need to observe # the rule of courtesy – put hashtags in place or remove at the end of the post, and in some cases even in a separate comment.
Knowing what a hashtag is is not a sufficient condition for success; you also need to understand how to use it correctly. By placing a word tagged # in your message, you are placing it in a specific communication channel.
If your label is unique, then the channel will be unique, if not, then you join the channel with information from other users who wrote something on the same topic. Based on this, you can establish an effective work of hashtags for your account.
Let’s say you want to sort your posts into groups within your account. This is for your personal convenience, so you can find your posts or photos by topic.
In this case, the hashtags must be unique so that your posts are not mixed with others.
#VasyaPupkin_skis and #VasyaPupkin_bicycle are examples of single marks. By clicking on this hashtag, you will see all your personal photos from skiing or cycling trips.
Unique hashtags are also used to trend creation . In this case, they should be combined with popular tags that reach a wide audience.
For example, for the query # VasyaPupkin_bicycle there are no posts on Instagram, but the query # bike gives out more than a million posts – this is a very common topic.
If you come up with a bright, catchy hashtag for your account and start promoting it, placing it in popular information streams, then with a happy coincidence, your original tag will be noticed , and it can become fashionable, which means it will gather a large audience.
There are 4 things to consider:
- If you overload your post with hashtags, then no one will notice your unique tag in their heap. The maximum number is 10-15, but that’s too many.
- When choosing very popular tags, keep in mind that your post will quickly go under the pile of the next posts with the same tag.
- Instagram has introduced the function of subscribing to hashtags, if your posts are of high quality and interesting, then there is a better chance that the user will subscribe to your unique hashtag and will receive all posts with this mark.
- Long hard-to-read hashtags no one will remember, so it is better to come up with bright, short, memorable keys.
If your account offers goods or services and was created to attract customers, then the primary task is to find the target audience. Rather, so that the target audience finds and remembers you.
Services for the selection of hashtags will help in solving the problem. They are mostly in English, sharpened either for Twitter or Instagram, but many support Russian and the data from there can be used for other social networks.
Here are a couple of the most famous as examples.
Websta.me – shows the most popular hashtags and accounts on Instagram, provides analytics, supports Russian. One of the best services.
For example, you are looking for popular hashtags for pictures that you want to upload to Instagram. Just enter the key into the search box, and the service will give you all the most popular tags. You can click on them to view the content suggested by users by topic.
Hashtags.org is the oldest service with a huge database of hashtags for Twitter. Shows very detailed analytics, supports Russian.
Hashtags are an important tool for attracting attention, but we must not forget that this is not an end in itself. The main thing for which you can be appreciated is the content and quality of the information that you post to the network.
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Social media hashtags: instructions for use
Following Twitter and Instagram, other social networks are catching up. Vkontakte, Facedook, YouTube and even Odnoklassniki all started using hashtags. But each social network has its own audience and its own vowel and unspoken rules.
Without a hashtag on Twitter, no one will definitely notice you. According to them, everyone here is tracking current news, looking for information of interest. The most popular themes are displayed on the left side of the screen, and you can customize the feed.
The maximum length of a tweet is 140 characters, so hashtags are often embedded in the text itself, trying to make it relevant. Also, tags can be put at the beginning and at the end of the message. The number of tags in a post is not limited, but no one likes a sheet of links.
All tagged tweets are included in the feed with popular hashtags, so such posts are rapidly going down.
On Instagram, hashtags are needed like air, they are used for various purposes, one of which is to distribute your publications according to thematic categories. This makes it much easier for the blogger to navigate within their account.
You can’t do without thematic tags outside of your cozy account.
Hashtags help you find the information you need on Instagram, are used to “harvest” likes for photos and to attract new subscribers. Here you can subscribe not only to someone else’s account, but also to certain hashtags.
Very popular on Instagram hashtag battles, in which members post thematic photos with a specific tag. Many users come to such links, who want to get acquainted with the works of different participants.
The maximum tags for one post is 30, but this is overkill.
Hashtags must be relevant, i.e. relevant to the topic of the post, non-thematic tags are perceived with annoyance by users.
Here, the most popular posts go up, with the most likes, comments and saves, so the use of popular hashtags is encouraged.
Facebook supports hashtags, if you click on a tag, or enter it in the search bar, posts with the same tag will appear in your feed. Here, as well as on Instagram, the most popular publications go to the top.
There is one trick with the hashtag search on Facebook – insert the URL www.facebook.com/hashtag/, add the desired tag without a hash and those of interest your entries will appear in the feed.
A 2016 study has shown surprising results – more reach for unmarked Facebook posts. However, it is a powerful way to ensure your post is seen by an audience that otherwise would never have known about your existence.
There is no limit to the number of hashtags, but the local public will not appreciate it if you start littering the airwaves with them. If you inserted a tag into a post, it will not affect the privacy settings of your account. With the appropriate settings, only friends will see the post.
Users began to use VK hashtags quite actively. There is a tag search, posts are displayed in chronological order with the most recent at the top, just like on Twitter.
It is possible to filter the search within the same group by simply adding @ after the hashtag and the letter address of the desired profile.
It is allowed to use 10 tags in one post, but the same principle works here as for the rest – the more hashtags, the more visual garbage and annoyance of users.
Vkontakte has a way to put a hidden hashtag. Place the tag not in the post text itself, but in the description of the photo or video attached to it.
The VK administration monitors the relevance of the keys, if you use tags for other purposes, they can be excluded from the search as spam, and in some cases the community will be blocked.
Hashtags on YouTube are used to quickly find videos on a desired topic. To search, you need to either click on the tag, or enter it in the search bar.
You can add a tag to the title of a video or to its description. Limit of 15 hashtags , if you put more, everyone will delete them, and you may be banned for spam. The same punishment for irrelevant tags.
In the end, I want to say this. Hashtags are a powerful tool for organizing and promoting information. Twitter and Instagram can no longer be imagined without these beacons in the insane chaos of content.
Slowly but surely, “big” social networks are mastering the use of hashtags for the same purposes. But everything is good in moderation. Fashion sometimes oversteps all boundaries of tact, respect for users and overshadows the minds of especially zealous marketers, and even ordinary people.
You need to learn to find a middle ground when hashtags to your posts bring real benefits, but do not look like a terrible trash can, where everything that only you could shove is crammed.