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How do hashtags work?

Way back in 2009, Twitter offered the online world a new way to search for content based on specific topics by filtering them into categories, set off by the now famous #. 


This allowed audiences to connect with others with the same interests or easily spread a message by simply clicking on the hashtag or adding them to their own posts. 


Hashtags have proven so popular that they’re now found across social media. However, they do work slightly differently depending on the platform. Let’s take a look. 


Twitter mainly uses the # to help users find and join conversations, suggesting trending topics related to who each user follows and where they live. Hashtag results are based on the most recent and popular tweets within that category.


Facebook only allows hashtags on public profiles or within the context of a group or fan page. Any user with tight privacy settings effectively hides their hashtags from public view or search results, which are filtered by your friend’s list and pages you follow.


YouTube employs the humble hashtag to filter video content. Although you can’t subscribe to a hashtag, by clicking on #s in video descriptions, you can deep-dive into niche categories. You can also use hashtags in titles.


Instagram is a highly visual platform where hashtags dominate. Potential followers won’t see your content unless you use relevant hashtags, which can show up on the Explore page and help you attract a bigger audience. 


LinkedIn allows users to filter hashtags by searching through them based on jobs, services, companies, people, groups and much more. Your audience can follow your hashtags to stay in the loop, or you can start or join conversations with them. LinkedIn Pulse will also let you add hashtags to your articles, which are then shared with all your connections.


It’s also worth noting the different types of hashtags, such as those used for niches, locations, events, communities, contests, brands, and marketing. 


With so many ways to implement hashtags, it can be hard to quantify their effectiveness. Luckily, there are lots of hashtag performance tools available, which can analyse how well yours are working in real time – #epic.