What are #hashtags?
Hashtags are a form of categorisation and are used before certain words or phrases to help internet users find specific content. They are metadata tags which are used most prominently on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. One of the biggest challenges for social media users and internet browsers, especially in such a fast growing online network, is trying to sift through all of the online content. Hashtags offer a way of searching for specific things by compiling content into categories based on the meta tags used.
Where did hashtags come from?
What we now know is the hashtag used to be a simple symbol that was used for several purposes in the IT and telecoms sector. In the UK it denoted the ‘£’ and has been used primarily in a number of programming languages. It wasn’t until 2007 when technologist, Stowe Boyd was talking about Twitter in an article that the term hashtag was coined. It was during that time when Twitter was pioneering the revolutionary new concept that would forever change social media and digital marketing forever.
Hashtags for social media across different platforms
Since the hashtag boom, more social media platforms adopted the concept in order to help improve their service and help users interact and interconnect more seamlessly. Today, Facebook and Instagram both use hashtag systems in their own way. Instagram allows users to find similar content via the tags that are attached to photos. Facebook utilises hashtags to show trending content and popular posts.
How to use hashtags for social media
Many people don’t realise the potential of the hashtag as a tool but there is actually a skill in using them correctly. The main aim, particularly if you’re using them to promote your content or brand, is to be specific and selective. Make sure that the hashtags you use are specific to your industry or niche so they are targeted towards your selected demographic. Also, be sure to keep your hashtag keywords short and don’t overuse them or your social media post will be too messy and difficult to read.
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