One of the most remarkable gifts of the microblogging site Twitter, Hashtags aka # (followed by a word or phrase), has become a regular feature in social media in the present times. It is not just the inventor who is basking in the glory of this cool creation. Now, other social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, FriendFeed, etc. also support the hashtag revolution. What is more, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have jumped on the bandwagon and display auto complete results in the search bar starting with hashtag. Hashtag is truly a fabulous thing to have happened to the new media and is going to stay here, for sure. No wonder, Oxford English Dictionary added it in June 2014.
Origin of Hashtag
The credit for inventing hashtag goes to Chris Messina who introduced it in 2007 to tag topics of interest on Twitter. However, the 2009-2010 Iranian election protests made it popular and from July 2009 Twitter began to hyperlink all words starting with hashtags to Twitter search results. This furthered the influence of hashtag and it slowly grew into a cult. Today, it is a big part of pop culture and netizens identify with the hashtag more than any other trend. From #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter, Hashtags have been used as a tool for many a global movement.
Function and Benefits of Hashtag
So, what purpose does a hashtag really serve? Is it just a technology-triggered trend that has caught on because of its peculiarity? Certainly not! Hashtag is an efficient method to search for information and content related to a certain topic or issue. It is also an easy way out for people to begin discussion on a topic and create an online community around it. It optimizes the outreach of content on social media and makes it easy for people to find information revolving around a particular subject.
How to make and use a hashtag
It sounds very cool and convenient to use a hashtag but if you are doing social media marketing for your business or client, it is really important that you do your homework before taking the hashtag route. To make your work easier, here are some tips
- Work on creating a catchy, clear, concise and relatable hashtag. The shorter it is, the easier it is to read. Clarity and catchiness evoke the sentiments of the people and they find it very simple to relate with the hashtag.
- Use industry/niche related keywords to make most impact on users and customers.
- Use hashtag to promote an event or launch as it can easily engage people and you can capitalize on the interest factor.
- Create hashtags to facilitate discussion around your product/service. It will mobilize their interest and sure to generate feedback/reviews.
Don'ts of Using a Hashtag
Hashtag is a wonderful marketing tool for any startup or enterprise but you need to be wary. So,
- Be careful about inserting hashtags in your tweets. Make sure they do not offend sentiments. Using #Cairo to promote his spring collection proved to be disastrous for designer Kenneth Cole.
- Do not over tag or spam as Twitter has a policy to detect and filter spam hashtags.