What is a Hashtag?

Did you ever see the hashtag video with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake? (If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.) In the video from the Late Night Show, the guys were hilariously poking fun at the over-use of hashtags, but I’m here to tell you that hashtags are actually a very useful tool in your social media toolbox.

In this two-part blog series, I’ll go over what hashtags are exactly, and why you should be using them to attract your ideal client on social media.

A hashtag is simply the pound sign (#) followed by a keyword or phrase. Like #greensmoothies or #FarmersMarkets. They are used as a way to label or organize your posts into categories of interest to make them easier for people to find.

Hashtags were used-and maybe overused-first on Twitter, so that is where we’ll begin our case for using the hashtag. Using the example above for #FarmersMarkets, if you want to know what’s being said about those community Markets, you would use that as your keyword search within Twitter, or click on it within another tweet. Then all the tweets with #FarmersMarkets will appear before you.  This is super handy!  And, useful in reaching more people on Twitter who have similar interests. Your tweets, normally only seen by your followers, will now be visible to anyone looking for #FarmersMarkets.  This equates to more eyeballs on your content. 

When using a hashtag for your business, put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes.  Think of what your customer would actually be searching for. For example, people searching for something to eat in their area don’t just use #food-it’s too broad.  They’ll search #Italian or #Chinese. They might try #ravioli or #crabrangoon if they’re feeling super specific in their hunger. This does require research, but if you’re diligent in using hashtags, they can really increase your reach!

Since Twitter operates with a restriction of 140 characters, it is suggested that you limit yourself to two hashtags per tweet. Choose wisely!

I hope this post helped you!  Let me know if you have questions in the comments.  In part two of this series, I compare the use of hashtags on Instagram (you use lots more) Facebook (you use way less) and Pinterest (don’t bother,) three of the four (along with Twitter) platforms that I suggest be part of your social media marketing mix.


  • Jan Jacome

    Thanks Stacey – This was definitely helpful in understanding when and where to use hashtags effectively. Look forward to Part Two! You go girl!

    • Stacey Post author

      Hi Jan! I’m so glad it helped you-you were the one that inspired this post! Happy Hashtagging 🙂

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