Hashtag: What is it & How to use it in Digital Strategy


The hashtag is a new search tool, designed and managed by the users of a platform.

The hashtag was created as a mechanism of organization or classification of content in social media. With the help of them, users have the ability to tag, find and easy to follow a stream of comments.

History and Context

The hashtag was first used in 1978 in the programming language C. Years later, in the late 80’s, users of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) used as the label for the classification of groups and themes.

The use of the hashtag on social media born in Twitter, when August 23, 2007, Chris Messina (a Google employee), proposed the use of the number sign (#) predating a word, for labeling publications.

The first use by the public is attributed to Nate Ritter (a California resident), who included #sandiegofire posts messages on Wildfires October 2007.

On July 1, 2009, Twitter added automatic hyperlinks to all hashtag, and the link leading the user to the search results of that tag in the system. Subsequently, its use was accentuated in 2010 with the introduction of the “trending topics” on the home page.

Gradually, all the social platforms have been adding hashtags in their functionality: Instagram (January 2011), Google+ (October 2011) and Facebook (June 2013).

The hashtag as a marketing strategy

The hashtag is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to get visibility and reach; and these are precisely the two most persecuted social media objectives.

The first brand that saw the commercial potential of HT was Audi, when I include within its business in the Super Bowl in January 2011, a hashtag to generate, monitor and store a stream of comments about their vehicles ( the strategy designed by the Offerpop digital agency).

From that day to this, there are many people and companies that try to take commercial advantage of this digital tool (unfortunately there are also many that are wrong in use).

What is the benefit of using the hashtag?

Many contributions of HT deliver a digital strategy, the three most important are:

  • Increase the exposure time of a message: The average life of a publication in a social environment according to studies is 18 minutes, and according to studies, the use of HT prolongs the time. This means that it is vital to choose well the HT that were used in publications (Here is a platform that will help monitor the behavior of each HT to make a right choice).
  • Add context to the publication: The HT are also useful to enrich the tone of a message. For example, a publication containing the #Epic or #Fail label clarifies much the tone or sense of communication.
  • Improved levels of interaction: hubspots According to studies, the inclusion of HT increased by 55% virality of a message.

What should avoid using the hashtag?

Like all digital tools, HT has many pros and some against. Be very careful:

  • Do not check the content that is being generated with a hashtag before including it in publications. Avoid negative messages to associate your contents.
  • Avoid including an HT that can be used against you. The most famous case of a campaign that used a hashtag and became a disaster for the brand reputation was that of McDonalds.
  • Do not overdo a number of HT. Abusing labels behavior it is closely associated with the spammer, which obviously is not good; Furthermore, according to research by Socialbakers, when used 3 or more, levels of involvement and interaction down dramatically.
  • Doctor HT extension. When constructing a label always keep in mind that most social platforms have restrictions on the use of characters; therefore, if your HT is very long it will limit publication of those who think support with the use of the label.
  • Never fall in hashjacking. One of the most reprehensible practice is to use labels that are TT (current issues) with different to those proposed by the creator of HT purposes. One of the most memorable hashjacking cases was that of David Bisbal, who used the tag #prayforjapan, in the midst of tragedy, to promote a concert.

How to use the tags correctly?

The first thing you should be clear, before including a tag on a message, it is required to always have some strategy behind. HT can not become a decorative element of a publication.

Our best advice for the correct use of tags are:

  • Use CamelCase concept. Capitalize the first letter of each of the words used on the label (this facilitates reading and quick understanding of HT).
  • Try your best to those who follow it and understand the meaning of using a label publication. An HT is only useful if people know, understand and use it.
  • Institutionalize your labels over time. Let your followers become familiar with them and use them (needless to say, it is crucial to monitor the behavior of the hashtag and make visible to those who use it).
  • If the purpose of publication is to drive traffic to a link, it is not advisable to use HT. A label itself is a bond and have two links in a single publication could reduce the effectiveness of the link that you want people to convert. Now, if the inclusion of the link and hashtag is necessary, you should separate them, as much as possible, within the publication.
  • Hold onto their influential followers to give vitality to their labels. A hashtag need a stream of comments to make sense and be visible.
  • Periodically check the TT (current issues) for use in its publications HT, consistent with their messages, which have also levels of popularity.


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