No, we’re not talking about some four-letter profanity; we’re talking about the real #’s… hashtags. As social media continues to rock our world, the local language continues to make a scene. From campaign tag lines to a cuter way of expressing ourselves, the hashtag is here to stay. Here’s what you need to know to keep your #### in control, whether you just started a new fashion blog or you're a brand trying to grow your social media marketing strategy.

What the #### is a hashtag

A hashtag is the cute and catchy catch-all of abbreviated campaign tags associated with the pound symbol (#) before the following string of copy that’s often hyperlinked to all similar content using the same hashtag (example: #cutie). Limitations: You can’t use spaces or special symbols in hashtags, and if your hashtag is only or starts with numbers… they won’t work. And if you just learned something new, you probably need to get out more. (JK I totally didn’t know about that number thing) What you may not know…

  • The use of hashtags was introduced by Chris Messina in August, 2007 as a suggestion for separating groups for Twitter
  • Twitter took their sweet time adopting Chris’s proposal, but Chris pursued and eventually won the platform over
  • The purpose of the original hashtag was to make relevant content easier to find
  • Hashtags were first hyperlinked by Twitter in 2009

Hashtags are hilarious #LOL

Hashtags are often used to represent humor. They’re used as a sarcastic afterthought, or to tag an emotion or expression #loveit #lmao

#HashtagTips2016 for campaigns

Hashtag used has also become increasingly handy for coining a key phrase for campaigns. From NYC Fashion Week’s #NYCFW to #Shareacoke by CocaCola, it’s a great way to get fans engaged by bringing them together under a common tag. 

Thinking outside the box, they’re also a great reference point for conferences, webinars and Q&A’s. They can be used as a customer service tool, question hotline, or to generate buzz for a particular event.

Brand also use hashtags as a branding strategy, unifying their digital presence. Developing brand-unique hashtags helps you stand out, and is one more way to engage with your social community. 

The right # of hashtags

When using tags in social media - bear in mind the sky is not the limit. Put a cap on it. Just like using all caps, any emphasis overdone is obnoxious, and when everything is emphasized, nothing is. 

For social media, each channel has different rules for the ideal number of hashtags used per post. Instagram bloggers are notorious for stuffing in hashtags to increase engagement (guilty) but the good news is, looks like there’s no harm. While it may vary, evidence is pretty clear that following these guidelines can have a notable impact on social engagement. Here’s a set of rules for a few of the popular channels that you should learn to follow.

Number of hashtags to use for higher engagement

  • Twitter: 1-2 #s
  • Facebook: 1-2 #s
  • Instagram: 9-30 #s

Where is ####! appropriate

Though intended for use in social platforms as a linking system, many people now commonly use hashtags in text messages and other areas where the # is basically decoration. Think of it as the original emoji. Not into the digital street talk? Here are the platforms in which your hashtags are more than just social icons - they actually serve a purpose in promoting catchphrases, trending info or campaign initiatives through a hyperlinking structure. I've used hashtags both in social media and my fashion blog - for a blend of hyperlinking benefit and for a punch in humor. 

For benefit to your social campaigns, this is going to be where you put the weight of that # into good use.

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr

Don’t get confused thinking these are the only places #’s will do you beneficial. If you’re promoting a campaign, incorporating hashtags can help promote awareness in all forms of media (packaging, posters, look books, videos… etc.). How? Showing off your brand or campaign-specific hashtags encourages your entire user base to get on board and start creating their own relative uploads to the web. Free user-generated media? Yeah - now you’re starting to see the light.

Thanks to the hashtag, we can all enjoy the hyperlinked goodness coming from likeminded groupies and fans. So what the #### are you waiting for? It’s time to start speaking hashtag.

Published by Kristina Petrick