The Hashtag Turns 10

By August 23, 2017Stories

noun

  1. (on social media websites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it

We’ve seen constant shifts in the ways in which we use social media over the years. Facebook, for example, has gone from a simple communication platform created to help people keep in touch with friends and family, to a billion-pound company that now does so much more.

The same can be said for both Instagram and Twitter. Twitter has spread like wildfire over its eleven years on our screens and apart from shifting to a predominantly mobile platform, their demographic is certainly one thing that has changed. Accounts held on the American-born platform were originally dominated by American and Canadian citizens, making up 80% of users. However, over the years this has slipped to just 32% as people across the globe have joined.

Whilst the reach the platforms provide enables companies and individuals to penetrate a broader audience, it poses the question; does your organic content get lost in the masses?

This leads me onto the world of hashtags…

First Hashtag

Hashtags were introduced by Twitter back in 2007, with the first use being by Former Google and Uber engineer, Chris Messina as a way of tagging a

tweet. Hashtags are now used daily as a way to categorise discussions and aid visibility, and although I personally was late to the hashtag party, huge three-quarters of social media users weren’t.

Whether it be on Instagram or Twitter, the use of hashtags has been proven to increase engagement by 12.6% and a whopping 88% of brand posts include at least one hashtag and are an integral part of discovery and exposure, particularly on Instagram.

Twitter, similarly to Instagram, enables topics, businesses and individuals to be located by a simple hashtag search – but the regeneration of information certainly moves a lot faster and therefore content is replenished at a faster rate. This allows a shorter amount of screen time for a post supporting a widespread hashtag.

As exciting as they are, you can’t just go jumping on the band wagon. If you’re a business looking to increase your engagement and reach you need to analyse how you incorporate it into your marketing plan. If you don’t use Twitter and Instagram as an advertising platform, then, unfortunately, hashtags aren’t for you.

However, fear not, you can still get involved on your personal social accounts. There has been a significant rise in hashtag photo booths at parties and events where simply uploading a photo, using a specific hashtag automatically send the photo to print in real time. Even most weddings now encourage their guests to include a specific hashtag when uploading photos of their day onto social media, enabling all guests to collate their own virtual photobook!

The hashtag has brought us an incredible amount of opportunities both professionally and personally! Happy Birthday Hashtag!