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#ItsASmallWorld of Hashtags

If you are like the rest of the modern world and have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or Instagram account you will notice one feature that they all have in common. Oh, you aren’t on any social media? That’s OK, because chances are you watch TV and have noticed them listed on the bottom of the screen during your favorite shows and apparently, on fruit at the grocery store.

Photo by Michael Cote, courtesy Flickr.

Photo by Michael Cote, courtesy Flickr.

Why Care about Hashtags?
The similarity being referred to is the hashtag (#), one of the most identifiable and familiar keyboard characters in the world. Hashtags have very practical and functional purpose to them and are not simply an aesthetic additive. Hashtags on social categorizes that particular post based on the following word or phrase.

By clicking on the hashtagged phrase, you will be able to see tweets, posts, pictures, videos, etc. that also use that same hashtag, thus shrinking the social media world. Additionally, if posts are made from public accounts, any user, following you or not, can read your content if they too happen to be browsing that topic, instantly widening your audience.

Beware of Hashtag Abuse
But, when using hashtags, it is important to remember that sage advice Ben Parker once gave his nephew Peter: “With great power come great responsibility.” Shrinking the world and simultaneously expanding your audience with a single keystroke can be a beneficial trait, but abuse and misuse are things you must avoid.

Photo by Maria Elena courtesy Flickr.

Photo by Maria Elena courtesy Flickr.

Try to limit your hashtags to no more than two per post to avoid spamming your readers. Another tip: use hashtags that are relevant to your content. Recently during the World Cup, the ISIS jihadists in Iraq were using World Cup 2014 hashtags to promote their extremist propaganda on Twitter. By tagging their tweets with #WorldCup2014, anybody in the world reading World Cup content could instantly find themselves glossing over this propaganda.

While this is a prime example of hashtag misuse, the group showed ingenuity in optimizing the free marketing at hand through this social media outlet. In short, boost your social media marketing by simply adding relevant hashtags to your content.

After all, who wouldn’t want to maximize their target audience with the push of a button?