For both Twitter and Facebook hashtagging has become huge. Many people are still confused as to the benefits and reasons that people use hashtags. First of all before we dive into the use of hashtags, you might want to know just what a hashtag is. The hashtag is represented by the # symbol and is put before keywords, phrases, or events that people want to be categorized and tracked by Twitter or Facebook. For example if you are hosting a tweetup in San Diego you may want those that are attending to use the hashtag #sdtweetup whenever they are tweeting about the tweetup. Now that we have learned what the # symbol means lets learn about the four reasons people on Twitter and Facebook use hashtags.
1. The primary reason people use hashtags on Twitter is to get in the trending topics section. Each time a hashtag is used Twitter categorizes it, and if a hashtag spreads across Twitter like wildfire it will end up in the trending topics section. If a topic is trending you can be sure that it is being talked across Twitter by tens of thousands. As an example Twitter recently had to ban pop teen sensation Justin Bieber as a trending topic as he was appearing daily on the trending topic list. This did not stop his devoted fans from using variations of his name such as Bustin Jieber to appear in the trending topic list.
2. Another reason to use Twitter hashtags is because Google keeps track and organizes your tweets in its search engine updates. For example if you are selling a mug on Zazzle you should tweet the url of the product, what the product is, and hashtags such as #mug #gift #zazzle etc. Your tweet now may be listed in Google or at the very least Google buzz. It will also show up in Friendfeed as well with the same tags.
3. A further benefit of hashtags is that people searching for your tags on Twitter search will be able to find your tweets quite easily. Third party Twitter apps like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are often set up to follow people with certain keywords or hashtags being used. Using the hashtags in your tweets can help these users find your products or at the very least follow you.
4. In addition to Twitter search there are many websites out there that are set up to chronicle hashtags. A tweet with some hashtags and a link to your website could bring about some backlinks from these hashtag storing websites that could boost your rank in the search engines and bring your site more traffic. You never know who is out there who might be looking for something that you are tagging or looking to post your tweet on their website.
One thing to keep in mind though is to not overdo the use of tags. I would say use three tags maximum and definitely do not use tags in every tweet you use. Probably one out of every 10 to 20 tweets is a better idea. You don't want your tweets to look like spam.