We used to call them pound signs, or maybe even number signs. If you call them that now, you’ll get the same weird look you gave when you first heard the word, “hashtag.” But if you aren’t calling them hashtags by now and using them appropriately, your brand could really be suffering. Learn this marketing trend so you can catch the attention of even more potential customers.

What Makes It a Hashtag Instead of a Pound Sign?

In all fairness, it wasn’t called a hashtag until 2007, when the first one appeared on Twitter. As a matter of fact, an automatic phone operator will probably prompt you to press a “pound sign” after inputting your numbers. However, most of today’s youth, as well as those active on social media will know it as a hashtag – the tic-tac-toe symbol before a hyperlinked word or set of words.

How Do I Use a Hashtag?

Making a hashtag is a lot easier than you might think. Since 2009, whenever you use the hashtag mark followed by at least one letter (no spaces in between), your message will automatically be hyperlinked and thus connected to any other post with a similar hashtag on any social media site, be it Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.  Anyone who searches for that hashtag will come across your post as well as all others with that hashtag.

How Do Hashtags Help Promote My Brand?

Get your brand’s slogan on the radar. End every post you make with your slogan. (It has to be short enough to be an attention-getter. If a reader tries to put spaces in between too many words, her brain will get tired and give up.) Since you can use more than one hashtag in your post, you may also want to include some other popular hashtags from industry. Not sure what that might be? Search the “trending” section on Twitter. By including these other hashtags, you will get the attention of other people searching for products in your industry.

Once you have been using your hashtag slogan for a while, get your followers in on it. Encourage your followers to share your posts with hashtag. Ask them to post pictures with the hashtag. Don’t forget – contests make everyone much more likely to post!

Are There Rules to Hashtagging?

We live in a world where people will only give you a few seconds of their attention. If you load up too many hashtags at the end of your post, your audience will stop paying attention and ignore them all. (Just keep scrolling…)

It shouldn’t take a PhD to figure out what your brand is about. People don’t want to work that hard.

You want to talk about “Just Keep Scrolling?” That’s the best you can hope for if you offend someone. Hashtags can also be used by a brand’s opponent to create a boycott!

It’s almost impossible to create a post on social media that you want people to see without using hashtags. Use them correctly, and you will see your brand’s popularity rise to the top. Before you know it, you will be #1. (Or maybe even #NumberOne.)