Hashtags: The Modern Tic-Tac-Toe
Good Marketing makes the company look smart, Great Marketing makes the customer feel smart
What started off as a humble number symbol, now sees itself on most social media platforms. Yes, the hash symbol was once in a child's way of playing tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses). But today, they are flying across the world more than thousands times a day. The hash symbol (#), is now popularly used to categorize based on different areas of interest. They are also used to highlight certain words or phrases - which are known as a #hashtag. They are written (or rather typed!) with no space in between words. Capitalization of some letters or none makes the #hashtag less conventional and easy to relate. They are simple, quirky, universal and fun to use. It all started with a former Google employee, Chris Messina when he first posted a tweet with the #hashtag in 2007. It is amusing to know that just three years later, “The Oxford Dictionary" included the word #hashtag in their vocabulary.
There are different kinds of #hashtags. Since #hashtags are used to connect with and identify different categories or conversations they are used in uncountable ways. One may write about a recent political incident (#RecentStatePolls) or simply a day at the beach (#mydayatthebeach). We are free to create #hashtags on literally anything. The most known types of hashtags are the trending hashtags, seasonal hashtags, location-based hashtags, event-based hashtags, social issues, and many more.
A viral topic of discussion that includes anything that is currently popular, like #outfitoftheday.
This is based on seasons or climate, is region-based, and usually relates to people living in the same area, city, ethnicity, country, etc. Examples can be #bangalore, #HumFitTohIndiaFit, and #Mumbai.
Event-based and Holidays
These are regarding events that are yet to happen, are happening or to even refer to a past event. Examples can be the #WorldCup, and #WorldAuthorsDay.
These #hashtags are often used to elicit opinions and support from the citizens online for a social issue or cause, like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #endpoverty.
Art, Culture, Literature
These hashtags are used to draw the attention of those with specific interests. These can be #cultureclub, and #instaindia.
#Hashtags are meant to add flavor to your posts and comments, to bring out a common streak in your content, and guess what? Anybody can learn how to use them. All it requires of you is that you should be able to cook up and be wacky in your own way. You can consider these tips to get your posts amplified.
Too many #tags spoil the content
Different platforms have different word limits to be used in a hashtag. Nevertheless, too many words can spoil the fervor, so limit your word count. Avoid overusing the hash symbol. Here's a #hashtag to explain that better: #if#you#could#stop#writing#like#this#in#every#social#network#that#would#be#great
You also need to remember that spamming your followers' feeds with too many tags can tick them off. When you are bitten by the #hashtag bug, you might want to know how many times you can use it in your content. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 times in a single posted content. However, take caution while using them as Instagram maintains a list of banned #hashtags. The list contains those which are considered to be offensive or overused. They are either banned temporarily or permanently. This means that when you use them in your posts, followers or friends cannot find them in their searches.
A few quick stats on Instagram, the most celebrated platform for in the now. Nearly 60% of users between the age group of 18-29 invade the Instagram cosmos! That's not all - 80% of Insta users are spread across outside of the U.S. Imagine how vastly hashtags are in use by these users on the platform. In fact, businesses and brands are maneuvering 7 out 10 #hashtags on Insta.
Hashtags on other platforms
#Hashtags are also used on other famous platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and has even been featured on YouTube. They are used to categorize absolutely anything on the plate. Fashion, food, travel, wildlife & animals, lifestyle practices, and even studies! Words are not the only means of expression. You are allowed to experiment with emojis, expressions (OMG), and sound words (argh, nomnom). With over 600 million users on Insta alone, the future of #hashtags is bound to become the boom of social media and communication.