How Helpful Are Hashtags Really? Facts & Myths

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When posting on social media, we use hashtags to boost views, engagement, and shares. But do you know what a hashtag is and why we use it?

The hashtag, (#), helps a captive audience in finding your content online. Hashtags were initially most popular on Twitter. However, they are now widely used across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. Understanding the hashtag gives users a potent tool to communicate and captivate the audience and also promote the social effect. When properly utilized, hashtags can help people find your content and grow your audience.

All About a Hashtag

A hashtag is a word or phrase with the hash sign (#) before it. It’s used in a social media post to help people find relevant content specific to your subject when searching for a specific term or hashtag. The symbol helps promote conversation and bring attention to your posts

Points to note before using a hashtag

  • While adding a hashtag before a term may seem too straightforward, there are fundamental details to be aware of if you want to use hashtags to your advantage.
  • Don’t have a hashtag explosion! Check the platform where you are posting and have a hashtag strategy that fits. At times it is about using one to three hashtags that have a bigger impact than plenty huddled together.
  • Keep the hashtags short and memorable! Remember how the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2020 used #BlackOutTuesday to great effect?
  • Avoid choosing hashtags that are overly smart or esoteric. Your marketing will suffer if you select a tag that no one will look up!
  • Use definite hashtags since they will produce better results than broad or general ones. If you utilize broad terms, your material will probably be lost in a sea of unrelated and unsearched information.

Facts about Hashtags

Chris Messina invented Hashtag

In a tweet on August 23, 2007, Chris Messina suggested that the pound sign (#) be used to aggregate related tweets. He used the term “hashtag” instead of the sign’s widely used nickname- the octothorpe.
Some users were skeptical of his suggestion. However, it quickly gained popularity as a means to organize tweets and make them simpler to search for. Millions of people use hashtags to express their opinions and experiences on various topics. Although hashtags were initially created to organize tweets, they have since evolved into an important marketing and branding tool.

BARCAMP was the first Hashtag used

The first hashtag used was #barcamp, which was associated with a technology conference that Messina attended. In later tweets that year, hashtags were used to discuss Hurricane Ike and organize protest gatherings against the Iraq War.
Hashtags were first used in tweets concerning the Iranian elections and the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. The International Space Station astronauts used them in 2010, and cookies with Twitter hashtags were offered.

The hashtag’s technical name is “OCTOTHORPE”

Don MacPherson, a Bell Labs employee and inventor, first used the term “octothorpe” during the 1960s, and it swiftly spread to other teletype systems. The number “8”, with two horizontal lines through it, resembling a pound sign or hash mark, makes up the symbol. The octothorpe wasn’t made famous by Twitter until 2007, which became the hashtag we know today.

2014 saw the addition of the word “hashtag” to the Oxford English Dictionary

2014 saw the formal addition of “hashtag” to the Oxford English Dictionary. Before that, computer scientists and programmers used hashtags to tag content for quick retrieval. However, the hashtag gained new life with the introduction of social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.

Users could identify and find information according to their interests using hashtags quite rapidly. Today, hashtag usage is in the billions each day, and there are no indicators that this trend will slow down. The hashtag has undoubtedly impacted how we communicate online, although some people may see it as just a simple piece of punctuation.

Myths about Hashtags

Hashtags Arent A Thing Anymore

Hashtags will be a vital marketing strategy for as long as Instagram exists and social media holds power and significance on a global scale. Therefore, it’s only a rumour and a reason to forego using effective hashtag strategies. They still exist! Therefore, understanding how to use them to reach more people in your niches effectively.

Hashtags are your one-stop solution

Hashtags are effective, but you must design something that a broader audience will find appealing. Too frequently, individuals believe hashtags to be a magic fix-all that only requires a little assistance from you. You don’t have to choose between the two strategies as they work in conjunction rather than in antagonism to one another to produce good content. Together, they make such a potent team. Despite all these, the content you provide must be valuable to your followers if you want to be noticed and stand out. It may sound cliché, but this is necessary!

Don’t clutter your post with hashtags

Each hashtag promotes your material to a different audience of potential readers (and perhaps future clients). Do not restrict yourself to using fewer hashtags; disregard the advice of amateur marketing gurus who claim that using more than 30 tags appears spammy. Using 30 hashtags will increase your reach because hashtags help the right people find your content. You wouldn’t want to miss it, right?

Hashtags are an ever-trending element of social media marketing. Although it may seem unimportant and often miss being a part of your overall strategy, the same can be quite interesting if you get a hang of them. Use hashtags to promote your content and make it easily accessible to users and your followers.