Hashtags should not be something unfamiliar to people who use social media on a daily basis. Scrolling down on any type of social media like Twitter or Instagram, a user comes across blue words with hash signs in front of them. When hashtags were first introduced in 2007 on Twitter, many people including myself could not see the point until they clicked on one. People started using hashtags since then, and nowadays it is hard to imagine social media without them. For example, if you are interested in improving your brand’s reputation and would like to see discussions or posts about it on Instagram, hashtags will serve you well. All you have to do is to go to the search bar, type #brandreputation, and boom! You would get so many results that going through all of them would take a lifetime. So What is a HashTag? Hashtags are a way of grouping discussions, conversations, photos or anything you can post on a social network. The same way that a keyword groups things together. Usually, when we talk about a topic, there are one or two words that describe it. These keywords describe what is taking place. This is what a hashtag is. Hashtags are a way of sorting things such as posts or discussions that take place. There are a lot of people talking about the same things we talk about online when we are sharing thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You are only able to reach the people that follow you. If you are posting regular statements or photos, most of the time the only way that somebody is going to find you is if they were told to go to your post or if they did a specific search. Using hashtags extends a user’s ability to reach people. So when a user posts out a tweet or posts a photo on Instagram without hashtags, she reaches the people that follow her. The only way that more people would see that post or tweet is if one of the user’s friends commented on it or retweeted or reposted. How To Use Hashtags? Hashtags allow you to one or couple of the words in the statement that you made, or the comment that you put underneath your photo, it turns one or two of those words into a link that groups with other people’s conversations that they are having on the same topic. If an Instagram user would take a picture of his Honda Civic and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #civic, then if you tap on the hashtag #civic, anybody else who uploaded photos or videos with the exact hashtag would all be listed for you to explore. That would be a great way to connect with other Civic owners based on the photos that they have uploaded. The same thing could be done when you tweet your 140 characters of whatever on Twitter and use a specific hashtag; you can then click on that and see what other people are talking about the same topic, what discussions they are having and how you can benefit from that information. What Benefits do Hashtags Offer? What is great about that is when people list their interests or business descriptions they always try to keep it short and easy to read. People cannot list every interest, every single product or service that they are offering in those descriptions. When people are holding discussions or making statements while using hashtags, they are injecting their thoughts or photos into a feed with a lot of other people having those same conversations, and it is a way to extend their reach using hashtags which are like keywords in essence. To sum all that up, hashtags are a way of grouping conversations in a way that people can see them whether or not they are with friends each other or not which is fantastic, because it broadens your reach and allows new people to connect.

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