The History of the Hashtag
The idea of the hashtag is no new thing. Before its most recent spotlight, the hashtag was used in coding to signal an important piece of text or symbols. It was not until 2007 that the idea even occurred to use the same #hashtag on Twitter in an effort to group messages together. Twitter itself caught on in 2009, granting users the ability to search hashtags and later in 2010 rolling out “Trending Topics”.
Hashtags now decide what is important in the news, the media, and the world. Hashtags judge what goes viral. In the last 5 years, the concept has blown up, without any signs of leaving. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and several other social media outlets have all been pretty much forced to adapt. But how do you use it to your advantage?
Crafting a Hashtag
Think of your hashtag as your keyword. It shouldn’t be too short, like #dogs. Your post will get lost in a sea of text and images and will likely be unseen.
If you decide to go with #ilovemydogsomuchheissocute, this may have the opposite effect. Your post here may also not be seen, because it’s likely nobody else has hashtagged this before. The trick is to go with something specific, but not too specific. If you’re looking for the happy medium, we’re a big fan of #dogsofinstagram.
This can differ when it comes to your business. You’ll want to claim a hashtag that has not been created before. Maybe its your product name, your company name, or a part of your slogan. The simplicity rule applies. It should still be easily readable to the naked eye and understandable to the average reader and potential customer. Our company uses #modthink. Simple, understandable, and easily recognized.
The biggest rule here: triple check that its original. You want your hashtag to be unique to your company. To do this, check out www.hashtags.org. This site will let you know the analytics of any specific hashtag, if it has recently been used, and if related hashtags exist. By creating an exclusive hashtag for your company, you’re creating another online storage bin for your posts, photos, and mentions of your company online. Sure, they can search you by name and some things may come up, but as soon as they click on one hashtag, every associated post is there for their viewing.
Hack your Hashtag
Make your customers use your hashtag.
- Put it on your business card. Put it on your website. Keep it top of mind, so that when it comes time for them to post about you, they already know to include the hashtag you’ve provided. This will also prevent customers from creating their own hashtags, or using the wrong hashtag and sending their positive post somewhere else into the world wide web. Remember, the goal is to group the messages and important information together.
Don’t overdo it.
- You can participate in popular hashtags like #followfriday, #throwbackthursday, #mancrushmonday, #flashbackfriday, #didyouknow on occasion, but don’t get too caught up in phrases that will more than likely always be trending. Don’t pollute your business page with trending topics. Have fun with the hashtag, but ultimately, make sure you’re putting your business first.
Use your hashtags sparingly.
- Your one or two hashtags that you always use for your business are plenty. #Don’t #hashtag #every #word #in #the #sentence. It’s hard to read and there is simply no need. More than likely, your post will not rank in those one-word hashtags, and it is more beneficial to you and your business to stick with what you know.
Grow With The Program
Hop on board now, because the way we see it, the hashtag is #heretostay. More and more social media platforms are adopting the format as almost a secondary search engine. It is likely that online search tools will soon be going this route as well. To better optimize your social profiles and website, it is best to learn the craft before you are behind the curve.
Think you’ve got hashtags down? Want to jump in to this whole social media thing? Learn more about how social media can help your company here!