#Hashtag101 - From Origins To Present Day

Hashtag 101
Jacqueline Puga
Jacqueline Puga
July 20, 2017

Table of Contents


The symbol which we recognize today in social media as a hashtag, has an interesting beginning. Originally, Roman’s abbreviated the unit of weight measurement “pound” as LB but a line crossing the top of both letters was soon added to indicate that they went together. This symbol evolved into what we now call a hashtag.

Some of the most popular uses of this symbol in history indicate weight and numbers. Most recently this symbol has been used as a type of meta data tag. The concept behind putting this symbol before a word or a group of words was to identify the same topic. This symbol facilitated finding social media posts by topic because it eliminated the space between words which made it difficult for search engines on social media platforms to find topics like “family vacation” as search result had previously yielded topics for both “family” and “vacation” separately. The use of hashtags was greatly increased when twitter facilitated the the use of searching for topics based on hashtags as we know it back in 2009, after that it took off and the rest is history.

Today, people use hashtags as to find topics of their choice with the click of a button. Hashtags have become one of the most powerful staples of social media algorithms on the most popular platforms. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, and of course Twitter support the use of hashtags.

Now that we know the origins of the symbol and its purpose on social media, let's talk about what it can do for you. In many social media strategy for hotels and other B2C companies, it’s a good idea to understand how these platforms work. If we delve deeper into social platform algorithms, we find that these platforms show you content which uses hashtags that you’ve used in the past or that are relevant to the content you have clicked on. Through all platforms with the exception of Instagram, it's best to use three hashtags or less as users interact most with these posts. A common user complaint is that if a post has too many hashtags it’s “spammy” and it’s obvious they are looking to have a higher reach rather than qualified engagement.

Instagram is a different story, it lets you post up to 20 hashtags on each post description or comment. On this platform, the more hashtags on your post, the better as your content is shows to the users engaging with each separate hashtags in hopes that because they use the same description, your posts will be similar to posts that users has interacted with in the past. It’s all about customizing this platform to the individual. But this is the only platform where it’s seen as acceptable to use up to 20 hashtags. To find which hashtags are relevant in your sphere, you can use websites like Hashtagify and Keyhole to find similar and popular hashtags. The more closely your hashtags describe your content, the more qualified users it will reach.

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