Social Media Hashtags - Understand Their Value and How to Use Them

Social Media Hashtags
Getty Images / Creative-idea

What are social media hashtags? Once made popular by Twitter, but now used throughout the majority of social media channels. You've seen them, but perhaps you don't know what they are.  A hashtag is a short link that is preceded by the pound "#" symbol.  While hashtags tend to confuse many, they are an integral part of how we communicate and market online, because of that it's important to know how to use them.


Hashtags turn phrases and words into searchable links.  This makes it easy to find content that you are interested in. A hashtag is used to unite posts about particular topics. It's a way of organizing or grouping social media posts together. They are used to help people find topics that are similar and participate in discussions that are important to them.   You just click on the hashtag and you can see all the posts that are centered around that topic or subject.  

Where did hashtags come from?   In 2007 developer Chris Messina sent the first tweet that contained a hashtag, with the hashtag suggestion.  The tweet read: 

"how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?" 

And with that tweet, the hashtag was born. 

What Does a Hashtag Look Like? 

A hashtag is the social posts that you see that contain the "#" symbol plus a topic or word.   
An example that comes to mind are hashtags that are currently being used in politics when it comes to the United States Presidential Election.

While watching debates many viewers gather together and unite their posts by including the hashtags #Election2016, #FeeltheBern, #ImWithHer and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. This enabled the hashtags to be searched and allowed Twitter users to follow the conversation of others on Twitter regarding the 2016 election.


Twitter Hashtag Resources 

If you are interested in what topics are being talked about on Twitter, there are a few resources you can visit to gauge trending topics that are being discussed. These sites include:  
I love It is extremely valuable when it comes to researching popular trends on Twitter. It provides you with information on how many messages were sent regarding a specific hashtag and within what time frame.
Need to know what hashtags are trending in your industry? will show you the top ten hashtags related to a specific keyword.  

Interested in hashtags that work across multiple social media platforms?  Tagboard does a great job of curating hashtags that are used on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram.

Tweet Binder
Want a list of related hashtags? You can use Tweet Binder to run a query and find out other related hashtags. This can help when you need to find a specific hashtag that fits your needs.  You can also click on the hashtag within Tweet Binder and see recent tweets that have used the hashtag.


Want to track real-time results of a specific hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google+? Keyhole does a great job of pulling together real-time results in a visual dashboard. ​

Why Use Hashtags? 

Hashtags can be useful when you want to create as well as monitor visibility on social media platforms. This can be extremely beneficial when monitoring your company or your products. They can be used to categorize your social posts according to a topic or purpose. You will also find them used frequently when live events are taking place and attendees have a desire to discuss the event with others; a prime example is a TV show like American Idol, as I mentioned above, an event, like the Grammy Awards or Olympics, political campaigns and debates, and even conferences both virtual and live. 
Simply put, hashtags are a great way to organize Tweets and allow others to follow specific topics or events. Once you learn how to use them, you will wonder how you ever Tweeted without them. 

Continue Reading...