Why Use Hashtags?

Before we dig into the question of why use hashtags, let’s dig a smidge deeper and find out where they came from and what they are.

In the Beginning There Was Twitter

Yes, #hashtags were born of Twitter’s loins. The “God-father” of #hashtags was Chris Messina in a 2007 tweet to his fellow birds. They proposed their use as a way to index groups. 

“How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”  — Chris Messina, (“factoryjoe”), August 23, 2007

The reaction was that they scoffed and laughed and said only nerds would use it. Well, look at it today, there must be an entire world of nerds cause everybody’s using it!

The World Uses #hashtags

Now that you know how the beginnings of #hashtags we can graduate to how they’re being used today. #hashtags are used today for a couple of reasons.

  • Trending or Context Topics: In the digital world, a #hashtag is commonly added to give context to something that has been said. Granted, a lot of the time, it’s informal and humorous. Such as, it’s such a #pain.
  • Indexing and Searches: Behind the simple and fun use of #hashtags, there is a more serious use. #hashtags are also used to categorize content into easily navigable lists or searches. Putting your word into the search box will pull up content that has already been #hashtagged with that word. It’s the search engine for social media.

How To Use #hashtags

Now that you’ve gotten the lowdown on the beginnings of #hashtags and their basic function, let’s go over how you can use them most effectively in your business. #hashtags are used on most social media platforms today. Some use them more, others less so. Overall, #hashtags are an easy and effective way to connect with your following and potential customers. You can use #hashtags to:

  • Show Your Support. Show your support for a cause or your favorite football team. Showing support for something or someone can help your customers find you more identifiable. It makes you seem more of a real person to them instead of just a blip on the screen.
  • Use Targeted #hashtags. Using specific #hashtags can put you in front of a new potential audience. If you want to widen the net of potential customers, research #hashtags that would reach that market share. You’ll be able to engage with a new audience easily by just #hashtagging where your new audience is hanging.
  • Create a Branded #hashtag. Yes, get your name out there! Create your own brand #hashtag and wave that flag everywhere! Build a community around it, give valuable content and create a following.

Types of #hashtags

There are many types of #hashtags you can use. Some that highlight services or products, some that use a cute catchphrase that’s specific to your industry. Here’s a list of the common #hashtags used from Later:

  • Services or Products. Such as #poodlesocks #beetlejuicehats #localelectrician
  • Niche tags. Like, #socialmediamarketing #seomarketing
  • Instagram’s communities in your niche. #AussieloversofInstagram #plumbersofinstagram
  • Special seasons or events. #mondaymotivation #celebratelife
  • Locations. #madeinamerica #timbuktu 
  • Daily. #tuesdaytips #wellnesswednesday
  • Congruent phrases to your industry. Such as #writerslife #marketersdream
  • Acronyms. #SPCA #IRS
  • Emoji. Yep, #hashtags with emoji such as #? or #?

There are so many types of tags, but hey, anybody can do this! It really is very easy. 

Where Can I Use My Cool New #hashtags?

The list is endless, but we’ll try to give you a run-down on the major hotspots.

  1. Instagram. The #hashtag king. You can use any number of #hashtags up to thirty! That’s a lot of area you can cover. Guide.
  2. Pinterest. Encourages descriptive hashtags for your pins. Up to twenty are acceptable. Guide
  3. YouTube. Allows up to fifteen. Three will show up in your description. Guide
  4. Twitter. Well I guess it’s however many you can fit. You have two hundred eighty characters in your message. I’d use my #hashtags in a sentence within that character limit. Guide.
  5. LinkedIn. This works a bit differently. What trends on other sites are not necessarily appropriate for a professional site such as LinkedIn. Although there is no limit to #hashtags in LinkedIn, it is recommended that you only use five. Guide
  6. Facebook. Three or four hashtags seem to be the recommended amount. Trick is to keep it simple and relevant. #hashtags are clickable and searchable. Any other social media platforms you have connected to Facebook will be searched. Guide

So, now you are well-armed and ready to tackle #hashtags on social media. You can see that the type of hashtag you use is determined by your ultimate marketing purpose, as is the platform you use them on. The most important take-away we can give you are, if you decide to tackle social media yourself, do your research. Those tags are mission critical. If not, and leaving this to the pros is sounding like a better and better idea, give Above the Bar Marketing a call at 608-422-0676 or contact us online for our best quote.