You’ve seen or heard of them: hashtags.

In social media, a hashtag is a word or phrase that starts with a # (pound or hashtag symbol).

This marks the word or phrase as a keyword or topic. (A hashtag phrase can’t have spaces in it).

Hashtag to follow conceptIf lots of people use the same hashtag during a particular timeframe, that topic will “trend” on that social media platform. Here’s the most popular hashtags of 2015.

In addition, on some social media platforms, using a hashtag will make a post viewable to others who are following that hashtag, even if they are outside of your network.

I was at a conference recently, and the organizer wanted attendees to use their hashtag. But the presenter couldn’t remember the hashtag, and had to get a colleague to shout it out to them. And then the presenter repeated it, but incorrectly. And nowhere on the presentation slides, or in the conference brochures was any mention of the hashtag.

It was a lost opportunity.

If your event — whether it be a conference, public open house, mobile drop off event — is going to have a hashtag, you need to let people know about it.

Think about your favourite TV shows. TV shows will often display hashtags to get people engaged, tweeting and posting about what they’re seeing.

So make your hashtag known. Print it on brochures, and event signage. Include it on print advertising and collection vehicle signage.

A few words of #Advise:

  • Check your hashtag before using it. Is it already “used” by others? Are the posts that use that hashtag complementary to your issue or program?

  • See how your hashtag is being used. Use your social media content manager system to see if your hashtag is being used, and how it is being used.

  • Don’t overdo the hashtags. Use one to two hashtags maximum in a tweet. However, when using Instagram, you can use multiple hashtags.