Ten years ago, the hashtag was born. Started as an organizational tool, it now became a part of a typical conversation.
Who started the idea?
On August 23, 2007, Chris Messina, a former Google and Uber designer, suggested using the pound “#” sign to organize groups or tweets on Twitter.
He asked his fellow users what they thought about # to sort people and messages. During the hashtag introduction, Twitter was still over one year with just thousands of users.
But its formal introduction was in September 2007. At that time, Twitter reached several milestones. For example, it added @mentions and @replies. It also launched a mobile version of Twitter. Then, it defined fans or associates as followers.
Some people are curious about why Chris didn’t bother to patent the idea. It could give him ownership of all hashtags. If he did, he could have made millions of dollars out of it. But it didn’t happen.
At first, Twitter rejected the idea of the hashtag. Twitter believed that it wasn’t going to catch on because these things are only for nerds.
But, of course, it did become widespread that even the other leading social media platforms adopted it. Twitter wouldn’t be usable without those hashtags.
“1. Claiming a government-granted monopoly on the use of hashtags would have likely inhibited their adoption, which was the antithesis of what I was hoping for, which was broad-based adoption and support — across networks and mediums.
2. I had no interest in making money (directly) off hashtags. They are born of the Internet, and should be owned by no one. The value and satisfaction I derive from seeing my funny little hack used as widely as it is today is valuable enough for me to be relieved that I had the foresight not to try to lock down this stupidly simple but effective idea.”
The first hashtag
#barcamp was the first ever hashtag used on the social network. Messina used it as a sample. A year after its invention, #noticias was the most used hashtag. It’s news in Spanish.
#NP or #nowplaying
It’s the most popular hashtag and the most shared of all time with a record of one billion tweets. Next is the #FF or #followfriday. It’s being used half a billion times after its introduction in January 2009.
125 million hashtags
This is the number of hashtags being used per day. Other social networks picked up this famous icon, including Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook.
It’s the most annoying hashtag. Created in 2015, #thedress became a game and a meme. It was used to help Twitter users decide whether the dress was white and gold or blue/black.
Merriam Webster added the term
The hashtag is no longer just an Internet term. In 2014, Merriam Webster added it officially to its dictionary. Its definition states that it’s a word or a phrase written before the symbol #. It categorizes an accompanying text.
How can you use a hashtag to market your business or content?
A hashtag would be a familiar term if you used Instagram or Twitter in marketing your business. However, using them strategically can be tricky.
As a marketer, you must learn how to use them to help expand your brand or content reach. They can also target your audience/market so your audience can find your content. Furthermore, they can improve your SEO.
Here are some tips on how to use hashtags for your social media marketing success.
Use your brand
A brand hashtag is a kind of hashtag that you make for your brand. You can use it to market your products, promos or company.
It can be your company name or your brand’s tagline. Use it as your signature tag and encourage your followers to use it as well.
Brand hashtag must be unique to your company. But keep it short, and it must be easy to spell. In this way, your customers can easily remember it. They can also use it correctly.
For example, Coke uses its popular tagline #shareacoke on its social sites. When their consumers want to engage with the Coke community on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, they can use the company’s tagline hashtag. Other popular brand and campaign hashtags would include #PutACanOnIt (Red Bull), #EsuranceSave30 (Esurance), #CaughtOnDropCam (Nest), and #MyCalvins (Calvin Klein).
If your company’s tagline is common, you must think of something that makes your brand hashtag unique to your business. In this way, you can be sure that it stands out.
To ensure success, keep the hashtag consistent and don’t forget to use it on all of your social media channels. Then, monitor it so you can easily respond to those people who are using them.
Add your content
Content hashtags are tags that you use in your posts. They don’t define your brand or business. Even though they’re not trending hashtags, they can boost the SEO of your content because your customers can see your updates.
Common content hashtags could be lifestyle, event and product hashtags. For example, if you’re posting a photo of your product, use hashtags that can connect your product to your market. If you’re promoting a tool for social media, you can use #socialmediatool or #socialmediamarketing.
Talk about trending tags
Trending hashtags are popular tags or the most talked hashtags right now. They’re constantly changing in real time.
But don’t just use any trending hashtags. Make sure that they relate to your business.
In your content update, use a trending tag so that your massive audience can see it. This strategy will help your business be seen and famous for 15 seconds.
Although trending hashtags are great at reaching a massive audience, never spam them. Using unrelated trending hashtags is considered as spam. You’re putting your account at risk of getting suspended.
On Twitter, you can find trending hashtags on the left side of your Twitter feed. You can change the trends according to a geographic location or the people you follow.
On Google Plus, you can find the trends on What’s Hot section.
To get more exposure for your brand, make sure that you are quick in using trending hashtags. As mentioned earlier, trending hashtags change constantly.
Use hashtag monitoring tools, like statigram and trends map to find trending hashtags. You may also refer to this infographic on how to properly use hashtags.
Hashtags have come a long way. They’re not just used to collect ideas or organize tweets. Nowadays, they’re used by marketers to encourage engagement, driver conversation, and promote brand or content.