Everything You Need To Know About #hashtags

It is so fun that pretty much everyone is doing it #wealldoit. Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres even make a game out of it #game. 

Hashtags are a powerful marketing tool for social media. It doesn’t matter what social media platform you frequent. They all do it, and for a good reason. Hashtags are effective.

What used to be the pound sign is now the way people, and by people, we mean consumers, influencers, brands, and everyone else, use the hashtag to draw attention to:

  • A cause
  • A product
  • Themselves
  • A trend
  • A brand
  • A point

The hashtag is straightforward to use. There are very few rules associated with them, which is part of the reason they are practical and fun. What do you need to know about the most effective influencer globally – the unassuming hashtag. 

What is a Hashtag? #hashtagdefinition

A hashtag is, well, this: #. It’s the pound sign. It’s sharp on the musical scale. If you are feeling generous, it is what you play tic tac toe on #whoplaystictactoe. 

More than anything else, though, the hashtag is a way to make social media more functional. 

Consumers can rapidly get overwhelmed by information overload in today's high-tech landscape. Using hashtags allows them to easily cut through all that digital clutter and focus just on the information that interests them, like:

  • #love
  • #fashion
  • #happy
  • #superstar
  • #instagood
  • #greatfood
  • #vacationfun
  • #pintobeans
  • #yougetitright. 

Adding a hashtag to your tweet or post allows someone to find it. If enough people use the same hashtag, they start a trend #lookwhatidid. A unique hashtag can help you get your message out in a funny or distinctive way. 

Hashtags are not just fun. They are also big business. 

A hashtag relating to your industry can help you reach your target audience and connect with others in your field. Hashtags also help you identify your products, services, and messages. They are the very heart of building a brand. 

How the Hashtag Got Its Start #hashtaghistory

start here with hashtags

The actual hashtag sign has been around for centuries. Its usage in social media began with Christopher Messina, a popular blogger. 

In 2007, Messina advocated for associational grouping of messages, trends, and events on Twitter using hashtags in a tweet, and it stuck. The hashtag was to be a form of metadata tag that enabled users to add dynamic, user-generated labeling.

Why Hashtags Matter in Business #thepowerofthehashtag

Hashtag use can result in more interaction, promoting your brand's social media involvement through likes, shares, comments, and new followers. They are the key to success on social media sites, especially mainstream ones like Twitter, TiktToc, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Using hashtags allows a brand to reach more people, develop its audience, and increase interaction across social media platforms. Hashtags enable you to be found by the proper people, delivering your content to those who need or want to see it. 

More Reasons to Use Hashtags #whyhashtags

  • A hashtag returns results for any post that has that hashtag. 
  • Using a hashtag allows you to reach your intended audience while making it easy for others to access your material.
  • Hashtags compel action. When users see a post that piques their interest, they will most likely spend time scrolling through the hashtag-generated content.
  • As more platforms employ hashtags, the quantity of information presented to consumers increases.
  • Hashtags make it easier for social media users to discover content. 
  • Research indicates that hashtags improve clickthrough rates. According to Twitter, some brands and individuals have a 100 percent increase in engagement when they use a hashtag. 

How to Use Hashtags - Basic Hashtag Rules for Brands #hashtagrules

hashtag rules

Although the rules for hashtag use are pretty simple, how you use them does matter. 

  • They always begin with the pound sign (#).
  • They do not work if you use spaces, punctuation, or symbols beyond the opening pound sign.
  • If you want everyone to see your hashtag, make sure your account is public. Otherwise, only followers will see them. 
  • Keep them simple #toomanywordsinahashtagishardtofollow
  • Keep your hashtags relevant and make them specific
  • Use them wisely. Too many hashtags look and feel like spam

There are also hashtags you should only use for one specific purpose. For example, putting a hashtag before the word “ad” on Instagram tells readers the account holder is sponsoring a brand probably for money or in exchange for product use.  The trick to making this work for you is to find the right influencer. Beatly can help you there. We have both a full-service and a self-service option to help you pick out an influencer that can benefit your brand. 

How To Put Hashtags to Use for Your Brand #hashtagstrategies

There are three strategic approaches to hashtag use:

  • Brand or campaign-specific – Brand and campaign hashtags are tags that you create for your own company. Use them to promote your brand and marketing campaigns.
  • Content – The hashtags you use to highlight something in your post. 
  • Trending

The best way to understand the process is to see it in action. 

Brand Hashtags #WetheNorth

When the Toronto Raptors became the NBA champions in 2019, they started a brand-specific hashtag campaign. It was just catchy enough to start trending among fans on Twitter. Now that hashtag is associated with the Raptor brand. 

Content Hashtags #vacationfun

Influencers like Kim Kardashian often use content hashtags directly related to a post. For example, let’s say Kim posted a picture of herself and her family on a fabulous vacation. She might use the tag #vacationfun. 

The tag doesn’t relate to her brand or a product. It points back to her post. She is having vacation fun with her family and wants you to know it. 

Trending Hashtags #weforequal

trending hashtags

As the name suggests, trending hashtags relate to something people are talking about at that moment. A good example is the hashtag #weforequal. This promotes equality for women, cultures, and developing countries.

They don’t have to be that general, though. Someone might use it for political purposes. #Biden They might promote a cause #diabetesawareness. 

Businesses often use trending hashtags to connect their brand to a charitable association or a social issue that matters to them. #blacklivesmatter

The goal for any hashtag use is the same, though. You want to draw attention to your post. Brands want to increase their presence on social media pages. 

How To Find Hashtags #generatinghashtags

If you are wondering how to find hashtags, it can be tricky. However, there are several tools at your disposal that can steer you toward an effective hashtag. An excellent place to start is by monitoring industry influencers and competing brands to see what they as using. 

The idea is not to mimic them but to see what works and what doesn’t. If a competitor isn’t getting much return on one type of hashtag, you know to stay clear. You can even follow them. How to follow hashtags? Simple click on one. The posts with that hashtag will appear on one page and update automatically. 

Some apps and websites can help you generate hashtag ideas, too. Hashtagify. I is an example. You enter a hashtag, and the free program will tell you how well it will likely do. For the most part, this is a paid service, though. If you want to get the most from it, you need to subscribe. 

Hashtags are not a passing fad, so if you don’t use them yet, now is the time. It may take a little trial and error, but it should pay off for you and your business.