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What is a #hashtag and how to use it

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. Twitter originally pushed the idea due to the large volume of tweets which are generated through their social network. Statistics show only 1/3rd of all tweets contain worthwhile information. Twitter generates 340 million tweets every day, which would calculate to 266 million tweets which are pretty much useless.
The solution for most people is therefore to use hashtags. By using hashtags you are able to categorise tweets and receive the most important ones in the most efficient way.
Using Hashtags
Hashtags are an amazing tool, and a great way to give you the edge and be noticed by making it easier for people to find you by searching for similar content. It’s simply a clever way of grouping content, searching and adding context. However do not totally spam your tweet with hashtags as it will just look messy.
Creating a hashtag is simple – write # in front of a word in your tweet and you have made your hashtag. For example, if I write #SeoGuru in a tweet I’ve created a hashtag – easy enough?
Other users of twitter can then use the same hashtag in their own tweets which will simply add to the larger conversation about the topic.
The new hashtag phenomenon has even been embraced by Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and most search engines. Google Search for example will give you a live feed of hashtags in progress.
It’s a great way to connect with more people and grow followers as well as directly engage with users. When people click on a particular hashtag, it will send them to the page for that hashtag – it’s a great way to be found.
How to find the hashtags to use
There are many ways to find what hashtags are useful to use.
Within twitter, you have a “trends” sidebar that will give you a list of the most popular hashtags on twitter for that particular day.
Scroll through twitter feeds from people that you follow.
Use search engines to search for “hashtag trends” or “interesting twitter hashtags” to get ideas.
Create your own hashtags. This is a great way to promote your own brand.
Best practices with hashtags?
Keep them short and sweet. If it’s too long and complicated people will ignore it and see it as spam.
Don’t use symbols. People like to see words.
Keep them relevant. The hashtags need to be relevant to your tweet.
Don’t spam. For example a tweet about SEO, can simply contain #SEO #Marketing #Branding. Quality is better than quantity.
Promote your own hashtags. For example if you are promoting a particular brand #MobileApps #CafeApps
Make them user-friendly. Don’t write #onlinemarketing, instead use #OnlineMarketing – it is more eye catching.
Be patient. It can take a while to build up your own hashtag, but stick to it and be persistent.

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