Thanks to social media a lot of words have been added to the dictionary over the years, but few have become so widely used and accepted as the word “hashtag.” (We’ll save the @ symbol for another article)
The symbol (#) was known simply as the “pound” symbol back in the day, and I can still remember using it on the phone… but it a much different way.
While hashtags were first created as a way to organize the massive amount of content working its way through Twitter, they’ve since evolved into something so much more.
On #BufferChat this week on “Social Media Hashtags” a response sparked my interest. I’ve been trying for years to say it this eloquently and @winniegiang said it perfectly:
“On Twitter, hashtags are used to generate conversation. On Instagram, hashtags are used to get your content noticed.”
So our job here at Anvil is to make that hashtag a success.
Hashtags have the power to link your brand to new or existing trends and give customers a way to find or engage with you. Have a hashtag strategy and keep it relevant and relatable to your intended target audience. Research and well thought-out hashtags will boost engagement and take your business to the next level.
How do you know what type of hashtag to use? Start by nailing down what you need it to accomplish. Finding a trend? Finding an influencer? Promoting an event or campaign? Trying to increase reach of content?
Let’s start with where hashtags first gained prominence in the online world…. Twitter. You are (for now) limited to a 140 characters with your tweet, so making the most of that space is critical for your social media success.
Twitter gave birth to hashtags being used on social media. And while hashtags take on the same fundamental form across most social networks — just putting the # symbol in front of a keyword or term is not enough. Remember you are competing for a social voice and perhaps even that same hashtag (ex: #MondayMotivation) with hundreds, thousands or even millions of other people and brands.
How hashtags have changed Twitter (and vice versa) is something that has to be visualized. Internet Live Stats compiled some great information. For example did you know that every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter? (visualize them here) This corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year!
The first tweet was sent on March 21, 2006 by Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter. It took over three years, until the end of May 2009, to reach the billionth tweet. Today, it takes less than two days for one billion tweets to be sent.
Promoting an event or simply just want to follow along? Many of the trending topics on Twitter can be followed via a hashtag. This is most common during live events, like the #Oscars and #SuperBowl50, but they also become incredibly relevant during big news stories, as well as seemingly random discussions about just about anything. Tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those that don’t. That means they get more clicks, more retweets, more favorites and more replies for your brand.
Hashtags are often used to unite conversations around things such as:
- Events or conferences, like #socialmediaweek or #MTVMovieAwards
- Disasters or emergencies, like #Brussels #PrayForParis
- Holidays or celebrations, like #NationalPuppyDay or #NewYearsEve
- General interest topics, like #WinterWonderland or #GoRedForWomen
- Popular hashtags, like #TBT or #MotivationMonday
In conclusion, if your brand needs help boosting an event, starting an authentic conversation or creating a hashtag strategy, we can help.