Boomers knew them as pound signs or tic-tac-toe boards. Millennials might remember them as that criss-cross symbol before your telephone number. But today, the hashtag symbol means something so much more.
Perhaps it has slipped through the cracks, but back in 1988, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was already partaking in the use of hashtags similar to how we use them today. The IRC primarily used hashtags to categorize things into groups -- things such as images, messages, video and other content. This thing called the hashtag made it possible for IRC users to opportunely search for relevant and other associated content on the site.
In 2009, it was Twitter that formally adopted the use of hashtags into cipher code, automatically hyperlinking terms appended with the # sign. Ever since then, using hashtags amongst social media (or in real life, if you’re really hip) has become THE way to classify the often frantic exchange of thoughts and information on social networking sites. Think of it as a cyber appendage, attaching to word strings of particular reference.
In today’s world there are five social media networks that support hashtags: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+
But what’s the big deal with hashtags anyway? Search Engine Optimization, or SEO has become a very prominent technique of getting your business’ name out there, andhashtags have proven to increase that business brand awareness. For example, let’s say you’re perusing Facebook and you come across a post that embodies the hashtag #justdoit. Your first thought? … Nike. Point blank. What if you came across a post with the hashtag #givesyouwings … Good one, Red Bull. Hashtags ignite our muscle memory for brands and what they mean and stand for.
Creating that brand awareness by targeting your consumer is what will essentially boost your company’s sales. Not only is hash-tagging an excellent digital marketing technique, it is a way to retain and increase brand loyalty. When used in the right light, the hashtag is an incredibly powerful tool that can connect us with others, and generate greater engagement with customers and clients.
What are you waiting for? … Hash it out!