Whenever you click on a hashtag on Facebook, Instagram or any other social network, it’s like you enter a new world. In recent years, we can’t imagine social media without hashtags. Every post gets its identity and place in the social media world through its accompanying hashtags.
But how did the movement start? Why do we use hashtags and not something else? In this piece, we intend to explore these questions and the history of this strange and unique trend. Let’s take a look at where it all started and what do hashtags mean to us.
What is Hashtag anyway?
Out of all the explanations available, the best one is that it’s a metadata tag. Metadata tags are used to dynamically and swiftly tag messages and any other type of content on social media.
What makes the hashtag unique is that it’s a user-generated for of taxonomy, something that we have never seen before. Nowadays, it’s essential to a successful marketing campaign, perhaps even more than the content itself.
“If you’re a brand manager that blogs, even the best possible content isn’t enough without hashtags,” tell us Sarah Chaplain, marketing executive at an Australian company. “Tagging lets people know where does a certain post stand and how can they define it. You can use the service of the cheapest essay writing service and still go viral with good hashtags. Content is no longer the only king.”
Where did it all start and how did it develop?
Before being used as a categorizing and marketing tool, the hashtag was simply known as “the pound sign.” Its most prominent use was by kids when playing tic-tac-toe.
- 1988 – on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), hashtags were chosen as a random symbol for categorizing. Users could categorize any message, image or video into groups and view them later. This trend led to the first form of online search.
- 2007 – the hashtag was technically known by people around the world, but it didn’t enter widespread use until Chris Messina introduced it.
- 2009 – Twitter officially adopted the hashtag into code. This resulted in hashtag-appended items being hyperlinked at all times.
- 2010 – The very next year, Twitter began highlighting hashtags and using the terms “trending” and “trending” topics.
As we see, in just three years, the hashtag made the journey from just a content tag to a major means of highlighting news and information. The categorizing property of the hashtag soon saw it “creep” into the world of marketing. But how can you grow your brand using hashtags? Let’s take a look at some of the secrets about the hashtag marketing on social media.
Use hashtags to gather information about the competition
Most marketers only view hashtags as just a means of promoting their content. While this is one of its more prominent uses, it comes after scouting out the market.
Before you launch a campaign on social media, click on the hashtag to see the most popular tagged posts. What sets them apart? Why are they so popular?
Instagram has recently introduced a feature that separates the most popular and the most recent tagged posts. This innovation gives you the opportunity to plan your campaigns by looking up to more successful brands in your field.
Make events more social
If you’re organizing an event related to your brand, hashtags are a great way to increase interaction between people. This is a secret that many brands and marketers fail to utilize.
Having an event-dedicated hashtag lets attendees promote the event and your brand at the same time. They can discuss the ongoing matters and involve their friends and followers as well.
Increasing activity at an event results in better engagement, which allows people to become active participants in your brand. Influencers can also use hashtags at your events to drive activity and further increase overall participation.
Companies such as BMW, Apple, and Samsung frequently use hashtags as an integral part of their events.
Summarize all your ideas and thoughts into hashtags
When posting a paragraph or two on Facebook or as an Instagram description, you are sending a message.
By transmitting your idea, you are counting on your followers to spread that message further. However, there is a problem when it comes to the length of the content. That’s where hashtags come to the rescue.
To make your posts more shareable, summarize the main idea or two into hashtags. An ideal solution would be to create your slogan and hashtag it.
Soon, as people start to take notice and share it, your posts will be embedded in a new form of brand identity. Also, as people click on the hashtag, they will be able to access your older content and get to know your brand
Keep it below 10 characters
Hashtag marketing does revolve around sending a message to your audience, but ask yourself – how effective your message is? If it can’t be shortened to 10 characters, it won’t be memorable or unique.
Have a hashtag that’s too short or basic, and nobody will click on your posts or engage with you. A hashtag that’s too obscure, and you’ll find yourself marketing your brand ineffectively.
Ten characters should be the absolute maximum for your hashtag. However, if you think of a tag that’s engaging, memorable and creative, don’t hesitate to push it to 12 or 13 characters.
Ideally, your hashtags should be in Latin script, without any umlaut characters. Your other hashtags might be longer or shorter, but the one you base your campaign around should be short, effective and memorable.
Using hashtags went from mere categorizing to allowing audiences to engage brands and marketers. There are so many ways to use hashtags, but the most important is to observe the competition and engage with your audience. Don’t worry if you can’t think of a good hashtag right away. Take your time and make sure the one you end up using is effective. A hashtag is a reflection of your ideas and messages to the public.
Samantha R. Gilbert has been working as a journalist at an online-publishing agency in New York, USA for 2 years. She is also professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, modern art and education. Meet Samantha on Google+.