From their earliest origins, hashtags (#) have been used as means to categorise information. Back in 1988, internet relay chats (IRC) used this symbol, formerly known as the pound sign, to label groups and sort topics.

Chris Messina, the man credited with inventing the hashtag as we know it today, saw that the symbol could be used in much the same manner on blogging network Twitter (let’s hope Musk makes it great again). In 2007, the hashtag made its social media debut and the rest you already know.

Hashtags Effective

Hashtags are an immensely valuable method of boosting views, likes, and shares, all of which help you promote a project or brand. When you respect their function and understand the best practices for using them, hashtags are extremely effective on social media.

What do Hashtags do?

Messina saw hashtags as a search tool, more specifically a way for people without specialist knowledge to find relevant information fast. Within a social media post, hashtags are placed before related keywords or phrases so that people may discover your content via the terms they’re actually searching.

Essentially, hashtags allow your content to be indexed so that non-followers are still able to hear about what you’re saying. This is precisely why SEO agencies advise the use of them to drive views, likes and follows.

They are key when reacting to trends or shifting opinions otherwise, providing you keep up a little research and follow proper hashtag etiquette. When used correctly, hashtags give you a wider reach and facilitate more interaction between you and your audience.

How to use Hashtags effectively

Placing a hashtag before a key word isn’t complicated in the slightest, yet there are many common mistakes that people keep making. In order to increase your exposure on social media, here are a few basic caveats on the proper usage of hashtags.

  1. Don’t go Hashtag Crazy

For some, it’s perhaps a little too easy to place hashtags in their post. Contrary to intuition, spamming a post with a hundred tags isn’t inherently better than 3 to 5 quality examples. The majority of the time, a select few highly-relevant hashtags prove more successful at attracting the right crowd.

Some platforms actually limit the number of hashtags per post for the very reason that manipulative use of these symbols benefits no one. If it did, every word would be a hashtag and we’d probably all go insane.

  1. Basic but Specific

Remember that hashtags are a search tool. Unless your hashed terms are actually searchable, they serve no purpose. Obscure words and phrases just aren’t going to catch people. In other words, stick to the fundamental digital marketing principle of not being too clever for your own good.

With that being said, hashtags are by definition specific. If you use very broad terminology (#happy), your writing is going to land on a huge pile of competition posts, quickly becoming suffocated by ever-flowing content stream. And thus comes the trick: making your hashtags basic enough to be searched but specific enough to be valuable.

Also remember that if, for example, you’re doing SEO in Sydney, the popular terms and trends are going to be somewhat unique to that location. When picking your hashtags, you might like to think of it like this. Would you yourself be happy to find your post if you had searched those key words, or would you feel like your time had been wasted?

  1. Don’t be a Slave to Hashtags

Hashtags can do a great many positive things for your brand, yet that doesn’t mean you must include them in every social media post. Strictly speaking, these symbols need only be used when they are undeniably relevant, i.e. useful. If you aren’t sure how best to employ tags, you can always seek out professional SEO services to create a strategy that works for your brand.

Forcing tags into your writing appears disingenuous, or worse straight-up manipulative. The most successful brands strive to have authentic conversations with their audience, which their hashtag usage reflects. If you can’t quickly decide on a good hashtag for your post, it’s possible that you just don’t need any.

Become a Hashtag Hero

Despite the fact there’s no clear-cut answer for the optimal hashtag strategy, following the above principles will lead you to a more successful audience interaction. After all, hashtags aren’t for you, they’re for those trying to reach you. This should always inform the terms you choose to hash and they particular ways in which you employ them.

When coming up with your perfect digital marketing strategy, respect that hashtags are primarily a search tool, get familiar with what your audience wants, and keep note of how they work from platform to platform. If you can manage all of that, you’ll attract not only a larger crowd, but a mass of people actively interested in what you’re putting down.