Hashtags are a Twitter staple and essentially boil down to using the number sign (#) followed by a word or words. The history of the hashtag dates back to August 23, 2007, and is credited to Chris Messina.
Do Hashtags Extend Beyond Twitter?
In one word – Yes. And their use and prevalence is growing.
The use of hashtags can now be regularly found on social platforms like Google PlusÂ and Pinterest, and smart phone apps like Instagram.
Why You Should Use Hashtags
The main reason to use hashtags is searchability. Both in you finding other people with your same interests or in your industry, and in others finding you for those same reasons.
- On Twitter, you can search by a hashtag or set up columns in a Hootsuite or Tweetdeck-type Twitter management software to filter out any tweets that include a specific hashtag; you don’t even need to be following the person who used the hashtag.
- On Google Plus, you’ll notice that at least a couple “Trending on Google” mentions are hashtags and can include hashtags in your updates (with Google Plus autofilling hashtag suggestions once you begin typing your hashtag).
- Pinterest is a platform that you can include hashtags in your pin description, board title and board description areas. Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest all make any hashtagged word or phrase clickable. Once a hashtag is clicked, updates and pins posted with that hashtag are presented to you.
- Photo app, Instagram, has a built-in tag search feature. This is a great way for businesses to find photos customers have taken of their products or location, to then share via their brand’s social channels.
Though the hashtag’s origin is from Twitter, hashtags have crossed lines onto other popular social media channels. With the enormity that is our social web, seeking out and locating others who are most relevant to us and our businesses make understanding the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of using hashtags a necessity.
Another great post! I never thought about searching Instagram for photos…that would be awesome for Shands because people might be taking pics of locations we could use..at least for conversation with them
I’ve seen some businesses capture those IG finds to use on other social channels. It’s a great way to integrate! Plus, who doesn’t love fresh content? 🙂
So many people try to hashtag on Facebook. I think that is one area where Google+ incorporated well. With as much data as we try to consume, small cues like hashtags are great for a reader / searcher.