Hi Everyone, I’m back again, this is going to be my last (slightly) technical post for a while as I’d like to tell you more about my illustrations and a bit about myself next time, so I am not a totally anonymous ranter!

I have been thinking a lot about #hashtags and trying to find out a bit more about them, and whether to use them on Facebook and Twitter.

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STOP! Should you use #Hashtags in Facbook and Twitter?

I have started to use them regularly on twitter, mainly using one’s that are already there, such as #365Dayschallenge for my project and #illustration, generally for everything I do! It does make me feel like I am part of a bigger community, and opening myself up to new people by joining in using these. I do feel I have already reached a wider audience, and have found more people to follow myself by looking at these, so I would recommend searching on key words that interest you, or are relevant to you.

All the advice I have read is totally in agreement that 1-2 hashtags can increase the views you get to a post, but more than that can actually reduce your views as it can seen as spamming. However one particular person I follow Dress Like a Mum, uses a whole string of hashtags for each post, and does it with a kind of crazy flair which I think works, so it might be good to play around with this theory.

I have also been wondering about making my own hashtags, and occasionally throw one in a tweet and see what happens.

I have now looked at some experts to see if there are any rules for making up your own and basically it seems not. The advice is to check whether your #hashtag is already being used, and if it is, and you want to use it to spread the same ideas, you can simply join in. When you start typing it into a tweet if it exists already a box will appear below your tweet giving you this, or similiar options to choose from.

But if you do want to use one for a particular purpose, to spread your brand, create a link in some way, start a group or anything like that, you can create your own.

To create your own, merely put the # symbol first, then the words you want to use together, with no spaces, straight after it, and off you go! You can then tweet this out to your followers so they can start using it too so it isn’t merely lost, like my #Iamnotagymbunny seems to have been!!

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The Gym Instructor from my recent trial. #Iamnotagymbunny

I am going to experiment by using #sammillerart and see if this starts trending, or at least gets used a couple of times! I will let you know how I get on, and feel free to use it too, or let me know if you have created your own new hashtag.

There is loads of advice on creating your own hashtag, I found Tech for Luddites really helpful.

I have also been wondering about using hashtags on Facebook as well, as I have seen a few people using this and thought it might be useful. However I have looked into this and not found much positive feedback. It seems that it is incredibly useful on Twitter as it groups together everything with that hashtag, so if you want to search for a topic you can simply type it in and find info straight away.

But, this is very different on Facebook due to the different privacy settings, and Facebooks unique way of sharing and withholding love. It depends on these and how popular a post is, or how relevant or close you are to a person whether that hashtag is given any status. So it seems this is not the ideal platform for using them.

More detailed advice and stats about using hashtags on Facebook can be found on this page by MarketerGizmo. Or to get the history of hashtags, how Chris Messina gave birth to the very first one in August 2007, and other interesting nerd facts please do visit Gigaom.com

I am going to experiment with hashtags on both Facebook and Twitter and see what results I get. I would love to know your own experiences of using them, and whether they have been helpful or not.

Look forward to hearing from you, Sam XX