The hashtag has become one of the most widely recognizable symbols of the 21st century and has become an integral part of social media.
And like social media, the hashtag feels as if it has been a part of our day-to-day living for so long now, it’s hard to imagine a world without it!
Surprising, the first person accredited to using the very first hashtag was Chris Messina, who tweeted back in 2007.
It took a while before using a hashtag became common place, but by 2010, the word ‘hashtag’ has made it into the Oxford dictionary. It then took a further four years before the word was officiated by the scrabble dictionary.
So why hashtag?
Anyone sharing content to a social media platform can choose whether to include a hashtag or not, it’s by no means compulsory. But by adding one, you are indexing your post.
Think of the social media as a library and your post is a new book. The librarian has to choose where to locate that book – fiction or non fiction, which category and then alphabetically usually by author. You are both the author and librarian of that post. Ultimately you decide where to cite the post by the hashtag you include within the post.
Every 19th August is #worldphotoday, so this hashtag was used on the Instagram post for that day, along with #serendipityhappens, as this hashtag is one that gets used in every post.
Once posted, anyone searching for a hashtag will find all posts and images also identified with that same hashtag in real time.
If a hashtag is being used a lot, it may start to be known as ‘trending’. Because Serendipity Happens posts in ‘real time’ (one of our USPs), posts can be created accordingly. On #nationaldogday, which was just a couple of days ago, the Facebook post image and the accompanying text played on this fact.
What’s fed through your feed as trending is unique to the user, via algorithms based on demographic location, social connections and also interests. Therefore, when #nationalradioday was trending recently, not everyone gets to see it through their feed. That’s not because we sit and listen to the radio all day, but because radio is another great marketing platform and so Twitter considered it of interest to Serendipity Happens.
When a humanitarian crisis, natural disaster or a terrorist attack occurs, an associated hashtag may be used. Because the hashtag shows the latest usage first, the most up to date information will appear. Anyone wanting to find out or follow the event as it unfolds can do so easily.
Equally, hashtags can enable the public to show support in times such as these, albeit ‘virtually’. Expressing our opinions or sentiments in a post and including the relevant hashtag means that those directly affected can take comfort in the knowledge that the world does really care.
Hashtags are not limited to big news stories. Small companies should engage with social media and hashtags as part of their overall cohesive marketing strategy. Bear in mind though, an irrelevant hashtag can have a negative affect. Trying to find a book that is clearly ‘in stock’ at the library but has been put back on the wrong shelf is both infuriating and almost impossible to find. Miscategorized content will also infuriate. Digging through content with irrelevant hashtags will cause an negative association with your company – not something that you’re likely to want to associate with your own brand?
Employing the services of a social media manager will not only save you time in the long run, but also ensure that you’re fully compliant with the latest hashtag etiquette. Plus, it might cost you surprising less than you think to have all your social media taken care of…
Here at Serendipity Happens, we can manage all your social platforms. Whether you simply want to post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, expand your LinkedIn connections or want to have an active Pinterest or Houzz profile, get in touch to find more.