We all have those friends that are #hashtagcrazy, but those little hashtags in the marketing and public relations world can pack quite a punch. Before you start going #hashtagcrazy, be sure you know what they are and how to use them effectively.

What is a hashtag? To put it simply, it is a word or phrase with a number sign (#) in front of it that you add to your social media updates. The hashtag then becomes a link that you can click on to see more posts with that hashtag. While the hashtag initially became popular on Twitter, it is now being used on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
The point of using hashtags as a PR professional is to gain more exposure for your employer, client or event on social media. There are so many great articles on this topic, but there’s a very straightforward explanation on Socialmediaexaminer.com. They discuss four easy steps for choosing a successful hashtag:
1.     Choose Something Unique: The goal is to reach people with the use of hashtags and have others join in the conversation. If you choose a common hashtag the post will get lost among thousands of others, but if you choose something unique to your company or event the posts will all standout and be streamlined into one group. Of course you can add additional hashtags to reach a larger audience, but creating one unique hashtag is imperative. 
2.     Choose Something Easy to Remember: Making sure your hashtag is easy to remember is important. Choosing something that is simple to spell and read is key. If it is too long, it will take up too much space in a tweet and chances are it will be misspelled, so keep it short.
3.     Use the Hashtag on Multiple Social Media Channels: It is going to be tough to get your hashtag to catch on, so be sure you’re giving it as much exposure as possible. The more people see it, the more they will remember it, and the more they will use it.
4.     Search for the Hashtag Before You Use It: You do not want to choose a hashtag and roll out a social media campaign with something that is already being used, especially if it is being used in a negative manor. Always research and find out what, if anything, is being talked about with that hashtag.

These are just a few tips to ensure you are using hashtags in a positive and effective way. Using multiple and generic hashtags on social media platforms is okay too, but always be sure the words or phrases you are using are appropriate and will benefit the exposure of your company, client or event.