Turning A Symbol Of The Past Into A Marketing Tool

As a millennial, I grew up watching the end of one era and the rise of another - the hashtag, formerly known as the pound sign. The hashtag was once controversial, a generational mocking between those who grew up before the internet and those who grew up with internet. Now, marketers of all ages can agree on this beneficial tool.

History Of The Hashtag

What is a hashtag? A hashtag is defined as a word or phrase preceded by the '#' symbol, categorizing the accompanying text.

The hashtag first emerged in 2007 in a tweet from Chris Messina. Messina reasoned this idea by explaining he was "....more interested in simply having a better eavesdropping experience on Twitter". The hashtag concept was to provide content filtering and a conduit for different topics. Since creating a scene on Twitter, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn have all allowed the use of hashtags.

Your #Advantage

I have often had to argue the benefit of hashtags, facing resistance purely because the business does not understand them and thinks they are for casual use. These keyword tags are powerful; hashtags help your posts reach targeted audiences, attract users to your niche, develop your brand image, and increase engagement. This is how social media users you do not even know can find your content, engage with it, and follow you. Voilà! You now have a lead and can turn that lead into a profitable customer.

Using hashtags gives you an advantage; research shows that using even one hashtag averages a 12.6% increase in engagement. 12.6% for one hashtag!? Let's add 20 more, right? Wrong. Like the Charmin Ultra commercial said - less is more. The amount of hashtags you should use varies among platforms:

  • Facebook posts should contain 1-3 hashtags.

  • Twitter recommends no more than two hashtags per Tweet.

  • Instagram suggests 3-5 hashtags per post.

  • TikTok posts should use at most five hashtags.

  • LinkedIn suggests no more than three hashtags per post.

Another advantage to using hashtags is that you can use them to promote discounts or giveaways. For instance, when Coca-Cola created the #shareacoke campaign. Coca-Cola launched this campaign during the summer of 2011 in Australia, changing the traditional can wrapping with 'Share a Coke with...' and a popular name. This campaign allowed Coca-Cola to create a more personal relationship with consumers socially and playfully. That summer, Coke sold more than 250 million named bottles and cans, which is astounding considering the nation's population is no more than 23 million people.

How To Hashtag

Now that you understand the background and the advantages of using hashtags, this guide provides tips and tricks and mistakes to avoid.