The Hashtag Train first made its appearance on Twitter in 2007 when users, based on suggestions made by Chris Messina, began to refer to fires around San Diego by this symbol #SanDiegoFire.
Today, most of the Social Media has adopted the Hashtag Train practice. It essentially provides the content with an additional layer of temporary or timely keywords. Hashtags (recognized and preceded by the symbol #) are particularly useful when commenting on content or engaging in a conversation that search engines want to associate the conversation with, which may not parallel the keywords used on websites. A user may respond to a comment on a #babyfood article with the #FDA hashtag to add value and focus.
It is important for your business to adopt the Hashtag Train practice whenever possible on all social media platforms.
To take advantage of this useful practice, follow these simple rules to help your business:
- To create a new #Hashtag specific to your business, just place the # symbol behind your chosen words with no spacing or other punctuation (Numbers are allowed) and capitalization is not necessary.
- Convert your short keywords to #Hashtags and begin using them in your social media conversations.
- #Hashtags denote a specific subject matter. If you start a marketing campaign by focusing on a subject of high interest to your followers, use the #Hashtag to refer to the campaign.
- #Hashtags can provide an imaginative way to swing the conversation to issues that matter to you. If a Twitter chat room conversation subject to #babyseatbelts goes flat after some time, a #Hashtag may help you inject #BabyFood in the conversation to swing the discussion your way.
The Hashtag Train
- If you run a business that uses photography often that attract lots of attention, adopt the inverted pyramid strategy of using ancillary #Hashtags. In the case of baby food, begin using #OrganicFood, #HappyBaby, #SafeFood, #FullBaby, #SmilingMother that lead, by association, to #BabyFood.
- Look for what #Hashtags your competitors are using. Begin using them to occupy the same space. This is like raising your hand in a classroom to answer a question. It makes you a participant and a target of attention.
- When corresponding with your employees, colleagues, and co-workers, send them the list of #Hashtags specific to your business or your campaign to use as often as they can.
- Do not use trendy #Hashtags, such as #BeyonceSexyVideo that is unrelated to your Baby Food website or your brand. Google will consider them as spam.
- When promoting your business, avoid using more than three #Hashtags in any one instant.
- On Google+, #Hashtags have become an integral part of its platform. When searching a #Hashtag term, the search giant displays two results. The first result lists the term stripped of its # symbol (Google returned result queries). The second result displays all the items within Google+ where the #Hashtag term was used. This comparative listing can potentially provide a gold mine of information in terms of finding how #Hashtag keywords fare both by the search engine and by Google+.
- Avoid using a one-word #Hashtag, such as #baby, which may mean a number of things. Add a concept to it (i.e. #HappyBaby).
- Hashtags.org provides information on trends and usage that may be helpful to your business.
 Gannes, Liz, The Short and Illustrious History of Twitter #Hashtags, GIGAOM, April 30, 2010