In the past half a decade, the hashtag has become a world-known symbol for social media themes, trends or even random word strings of relevant words. The use of hashtags has become extremely appealing to a huge number of social media users, particularly on sites such as Twitter (which first used the symbol as a cyber-appendage) and Facebook, the most widely used social media site.
Hashtags initially allowed Twitter users bound by the 140 character limit to summarize a tweet into a theme which other users had access to by using the same hashtag. This quickly became a revolutionary way to make information travel all over the net instantaneously, create movements and build trends that have emerged as an entire part of modern youth culture as we know it.
The Origins Of Hashtags
Hashtags were initially used to categorize images, messages, videos and other content into groups back in the day of the Internet Relay Chat (1998). Hashtags facilitated IRC users’ search for media and other relevant associated content.
The same principle was applied by Chris Messina on twitter, and its first notorious use was in 2007 when people were updated in real time on the Sandiego Fires, using the hashtag #sandiegofire which over 300,000 used to gain information. The hashtag concept was put into code in 2009 when the words following the #’ sign were hyperlinked and ranked as trending topics’.
Using Hashtags To Gain Exposure Or Popularity
Hashtags are incredibly successful at increasing the popularity of a brand. They provide the opportunity for quick catch phrases, which people may both easily remember, share themselves by using the hashtag, and click on to be updated on what’s happening around this particular topic.
For this reason, individuals seeking to self-promote, gain followers or likes, have been using hashtags as a means of branding themselves.
1. The Catchphrase
Using a catchphrase that remains specific to you is a quick and easy way to brand yourself while forming your own e-platform. Through an expression or slogan, you will ensure that those that further use of the hashtag widen you reach of prospective followers. This means that, in making a popular catchphrase and repeatedly using it, you can promote and expose yourself to anyone that will have grown to use the hashtag.
In order to make a catchphrase an efficient hashtag, it needs to be short, preferably one or two words, and most importantly, memorable. It’s an easy means of self-sustaining publicity if used correctly.
2. The Tagging
On sites such as Tumblr and Instagram, which mostly focus on media, users have been known to frequently run through hashtags to find posts that match their interest. This gives them quick access to your page, which then gives them an insight on whether you would be an interesting follow or like. Using hashtags to self-promote on these sites will require you to establish the themes of a post, or of what you generally represent or sell, and tag them in a manner that mirrors your target audience’s interests. For instance, should you be a fitness model or sell fitness clothing and other material, tagging your posts with the popular hashtag fitspo’ (short for fitness-inspiration) will allow the thousands of people that regularly go through this tag either looking for inspiration or exciting products, to have an access they otherwise would not have had to your post.
3. The Follow Trains
This may be the easiest method to gain followers or likes, as all you will be required to do is to go through the hashtags follow train’ or follow for follow’ on whatever platform you are using, and see a list of users using this hashtag, hence willing to trade a follow or like for one. All you need to do is to follow those users for them to follow you back. You can also make your own follow train, sometimes with competitions, rewards and prizes, and trade something in exchange for people following you. For instance, a variety of aspiring make-up artists find that a simple way to gain followers is by making a train, using a hashtag that captures its concept, in which they may promise to enter new followers into competitions to win new beauty products they have already tried out.
Hashtagging is a popular way to gain recognition or exposure. Using a mixture of the tips above should guarantee you a steady increase in likes or follows, depending on the platform you are using. When using a popular hashtag, ensure you read up on what has been posted under it before. When making your own, keep it short, memorable and unique.