Hashtags: What Are They & How To Really Use Them

Hashtags have become so prevalent in social media and in pop culture. In fact, hashtag is already added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2010, making it #officially a word.

Hashtags are the short links preceded by a pound sign (#) that direct people to a searchable link. They are popular on social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ and they are helpful in categorising content and making your content discoverable to other people and businesses.



The hashtag phenomenon started on Twitter when early in 2007, developer Chris Messina suggested using the “#” sign in a tweet, which is known to be the first tweet with a hashtag. But the practice of hashtagging only took off late that year when tweets with #SanDiegoFire start popping up as people tweeted updates about the forest fires in San Diego. Now, hashtags are being used to categorised popular movements like #MeToo, entertainment subjects (#WakandaForever, #Jelena), brands (#SpaceX, #iPhoneX), and other random social media topics (#ootd, #tbt, #follow4follow).



We get that they are cute and sometimes annoying. But how exactly do hashtags work on specific social media platforms?


Hashtags are more versatile on this platform than other sites. Twitter hashtags group the tweets of different users into one stream, regardless if they are connected or not. You can also find a curated list of hashtags that might interest you in the Trends sidebar.


Like Twitter hashtags, Instagram hashtags tie the posts of different users, which helps you discover new accounts to follow and, eventually, pick up followers.


Facebook hashtags have the same purpose as with Twitter and Instagram. But unlike Twitter and Instagram where people typically have public accounts, most Facebook posts and accounts are private. So when you search for hashtags on Facebook, you may not get that many results and most are from brands, publishers and influencers.


Google+ hashtags direct you to search results containing the original hashtag and posts with similar tags and keywords.


Pinterest hashtags help you find content to pin. You can simply click a hashtag on a pin description and it will take you to results that contain the exact same hashtag and pins that contain the same word or phrase in the pin description.



Hashtags are not just random words. There’s an overflow of content on social media, so hashtags are there to help you block them out and find the conversation you want to join in. When you use a specific hashtag, you are telling the same story and entering the conversation. Here are some #hashtagtips you can use in your social media campaigns.

1.Create your brand and campaign hashtags

Create brand hashtags you can use to market your brand and campaigns and make sure to include it in your ads, posts and other promotional materials. Make them relatable and catchy to get other people to use them. It can be your company name or your tagline, or anything that is relevant to your business.

Make them informative but short. If you’re promoting healthy snacks for people on a budget, use something like #HealthySnacksForLess. If you’re servicing a particular location, use #ElectricalRepairsinGoldCoast.

2. See what hashtags your competitors are using

Make a quick search and check what hashtags businesses in your field are using. Include them in your list so everyone who searches for that hashtag will also see you.

3. Follow trends

Check out trending hashtags and use those that are relevant to your business. This could get your content up in front of a bigger audience. But be careful not to use unrelated trending hashtags as users may think of you as a spammer and might get your social media account suspended

4. Use hashtags to generate buzz

If you’re thinking of creating a competition, create an event or contest hashtag and encourage your followers to repost/retweet/regram your hashtags so they could win a prize. This is a great way to get the entire community talking about your brand.

5. Be specific with your hashtags

Try to avoid generic and vague hashtags, like #business, #marketing, #sale, #food, #entrepreneur etc. Give context to your hashtags to make them more interesting and to inform your audiences what your business is about. Try #digitalmarketingexperts or #save30 or #Ask<insert business name>.

Just remember not to #overhashtag and always #hashtagwithcare.


Are there any other tips you’d like to share? We’d love to know your thoughts!