The hashtag is a strange thing when you look at it. It used to be known as the “pound sign” or “number sign,” and now that we use it on social media, it’s a completely different thing. Why does that little sign (#) followed by a bunch of words that you’ve strung together without spaces even matter? Why do they work so well and why does it matter for your purposes?

Everyone starts their website in a different way. If you’re on social media, you likely sign up for a site or two (or all of them) and then you buy followers for your site. This allows your site to start getting attention and gives you some opportunities to connect with other people that may be interested in what you’re doing. But, how do you continue the momentum you built up.

That’s where the hashtag comes into play. The fact is, we’re getting a lot of information on social media every single day, and it can be hard to ensure that we’ve got everything that we need via social media. We’re putting so much time and effort into these sites and we may have some difficulty working out what is going to matter for us and what we can completely ignore. The hashtag was created for exactly that purpose.

Basically, hashtags tell social media users something. Whether it’s something about games, a certain event that is going on, or whatever else, they are there to tell people what is going on and what that Tweet or Instagram post is going to be about. It separates things into categories and allows people to just click on that hashtag and look at all of the different posts that have been put up about that topic recently (or ever, depending on how recent of a hashtag it is).

Here’s another way to think about it. Remember message boards? Some of them are still out there, but they aren’t quite as commonly used as they used to be. Message boards usually have different “sub-forums” (or sub-Reddits, if you use Reddit) that they’re separated into, so you can easily find the stuff you’re interested in and ignore what you’re not interested in. That’s kind of what hashtags are doing for people. It’s helping you and others to find your “sub-forums” that you’re interested in.

While it can take time to get used to hashtags, you will often find that it makes a difference and helps you to get in touch with your audience better. Look at what you can do. Explore what’s out there and be sure that you know what you’re doing when it comes to hashtag use. Not only can you ensure that you’re doing the right thing in regards to what people are going to want to see, but you can find out a lot of details and know that you’ve got some solid ways to get your audience and keep them looking at everything that you’re doing with your site.