Mashable‘s articles on hashtags is definitely a must read for anyone who is trying to study (or is simply interested in) social networking.
When studying the whole social networking phenomenon (especially for business purposes) , I found especially useful the Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag and 5 Ways Your Business Should Use Hashtags articles.
For those of you who are too busy to read the entire articles, I am going to make a summary, but I strongly recommend you read them.
Characters you can include in hashtags: basically any alphanumeric characters, but don’t you ever make the mistake to include spaces.
# vs @ while # turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link, @ will Tweet at a person directly.
Platforms: twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pintrest, Instagram.
Essential steps for your small business: