What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a label that is used on Social Media sites that is created by including the “#” symbol in front of a word or phrase. Hashtags make it easier for people to find content and information based around a specific topic and they encourage Social Media users to explore additional content that catches their eye.

An image showing an example of a hashtag.

The History

Hashtags were first introduced to the Social Media platform Twitter back in 2007. The creator, Chris Messina, proposed that they be used to organise specific topics of interest. Since then, they have grown increasingly popular and they have become an essential element of most Social Media posts and more and more Social Media platforms have adopted this useful tool, greatly impacting the amount of information put in front of users.

An image showing someone using social media.

Why are they so important?

Hashtags are really helpful when trying to reach a wide audience with a Social Media post as anyone searching for a topic related to your hashtag will be more likely to encounter your content, this can lead to greater interest, boosting your brand’s social media engagement through likes, shares, comments and new followers. Therefore, they are a vital tool for businesses looking for strong online engagement.

Hashtags can be generalised or very specific which means that it is a good idea to research what hashtags perform the best before posting your content. Choosing a good hashtag will ensure that your post reaches your desired audience and will also help grow that audience thanks to the Social Media sites recommending your hashtag to users browsing similar topics. To add to this, a unique hashtag makes your message stand out and catch the eyes of users looking at related content.

Another benefit of hashtags is that they are easy to use and they not only help users find posts about specific topics but they also help you reach more people who are interested in content that is similar to yours which means that they are an easy way for companies to generate interest in their content and grow their popularity and presence.

An image showing the word "hashtag" written on a blackboard.

Tips and tricks when using Hashtags:

  • Research your hashtags – it’s important to know which hashtags are performing well on Social Media to make sure your post reaches as many people as possible, choosing an obscure hashtag won’t increase your chances of being seen
  • Be consistent with your hashtags – using the same hashtag across multiple posts will allow you to grow an audience
  • Use hashtags that are related to your posts – this will help you easily engage with your target audience and boost your presence within your industry
  • Don’t overuse hashtags – using too many hashtags could make your posts seem unprofessional and messy, one to three hashtags per post is recommended