What is the Hashtag # on Twitter? Aka a "pound sign"

A "hashtag" is a symbol that looks like this: #

When used in Twitter, the hashtag signals that the person Twittering is referring to a subject, or common theme or topic that other people are talking about in Twitter. Anyone can make up their own #. It's free, and Twitter automatically activates it as a link. When clicked on, the reader will get most recent tweets that also included that hashtag # in their tweet.

Here is an example of the how to use a hashtag # in a sentence:

hashtag in use at Twitter in a tweet

It reads:
Personalized digital email stationery from now available for AOL! As well as Gmail, Hotmail, etc www.meeblemail.com

Let's analyze the strategy behind this tweet, and how the hashtag was used:

The hashtag is #propreneur. Here at Tin Shingle, we nurture a community of members who are small businesses and entrepreneurs. We promote them on Twitter as a perk of their membership. Each time we do this, we use the hashtag #propreneur to signal when we are mentioning one of our members. We do this for two reasons:

In this sample tweet, we used #propreneur as an adjective to describe the person we were mentioning in our tweet. We could have also said "...from member @MeebleMail", but we would rather brand the hashtag.

We also use this hashtag in this format:

Another hashtag in use, different format

It reads:
Great ideas! RT Traveling? Bring a little piece of home to your hotel room to sleep better.

In this tweet, we ReTweeted (RT) one of our members, Feng Shui expert Ken Lauher. We tacked on the hashtag at the end of the tweet. This is an accepted placement of a hashtag, without needing to incorporate it into your sentence. You can tack on more than one hashtag onto the end of your tweet.

That concludes your tutorial of the hashtag! For a history of the hashtag, here's a good article that defines the hashtag.

Want us to tweet about you? Click here to learn about member benefits Tin Shingle, where we do this and so much more for you to help your business. We also offer workshops to teach you how to use Twitter for business. Click here to see our current educational lineup.

About Katie Hellmuth Martin

Katie is a founding partner of Tin Shingle, owner and digital producer at Studio Pixelated, and owner and designer at Katie James, Inc..


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