This post was most recently updated on December 1st, 2018
|Illustration by The Hindu|
In essence, it is the easier, most user-friendly version of markup language that helps you “talk” to the internet and “teach” the machine what your post is about. Normally Search Engines use the HTML tags to figure it out but with hashtags, anyone can basically tag their posts to a topic or category which the user considers relevant.
The hashtag trend first started in 2007 when people started using the hashtag #wildfire while tweeting about a wildfire broke out.
With even News media relying on Twitter updates for covering major events like election results, the act of searching news on Twitter using hashtags should not come as a surprise even to the biggest critics of social media.
Coming back to “how did it all change”, let me tell you a key thing about myself – I am not a popular personality, never was and never will be. I am an extreme case of a socially awkward introvert, who opens her mouth only to express her opinion on controversial topics which doesn’t really go well with many. So as you can understand, a 30-year old, married opinionated introvert woman is not the ideal recipe for social media success. Most of my Instagram followers are friends and acquaintances who themselves hardly check the app once in a month, but most of the engagement I get is from people I do not know. The key to it is Hashtags!
There is a key difference between Facebook (or Orkut from our generation or Google Plus which nobody uses for what it is) and the likes of Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – Followers. Though Facebook is now trying to be the Jack of all trades by introducing followers, stories and all other concepts from the new generation app, we are more familiar to the concept of “friends” than “followers”. So, basically when someone sends you a friend request, you need to accept that for them to see your feeds, and for you to see theirs. Both of you will feature in each other’s social media circle. That is not the case for Twitter or Instagram. Here you have followers and the people you follow. The social validation game that we 90s kids started, has been taken to a whole new level now by the new Gen teenagers. The “cool-factor” now has a formula which is, number of followers/ number of following. The greater the ratio, the cooler you are. Now, I’m too old to be in this game, but as a blogger, I need visibility and engagement on my posts. How do I reach people who are active on Instagram? People I don’t know, people not on my “friend list”, not even “friends of friends”, or alumni group? Well, “hashtag,” says “Hii”!
Using hashtags you can increase your reach multi-fold, and as more and more people start following topics rather than people, the engagement on your posts become less and less dependent on your followers count.
Well, that’s the ideal situation, practically, people still follow profiles more than hashtags, which is why follower counts are important and having a popular personality helps. Good news is if people like what pops up from your handle regularly on relevant hashtags they follow, they may actually visit your profile, see your page and start following you. So you get a follower who doesn’t know you personally, but liked what you posted online – isn’t that the most rewarding feeling for a blogger?
The power of hashtags is not limited to just getting the likes and retweets. Here are some lesser known yet more useful ways you can leverage them to cross-promote your blog or business.
– Get Featured: Some influencers with large follower count also give an additional incentive, a chance to feature in their profile with proper credits. Use those hashtags if you feel they are relevant and tag those accounts. If you have 100 followers and that account has 10000, a chance to get a feature on their account increases your visibility multi-fold. As an influencer offering this opportunity you get a free content
– Catch attention of brands: Use hashtags to tag the brands to come to their notice or to simply let them know that you are endorsing their product. A lot of hoteliers and brands use follow their brand hashtags as well as those of their competitors for remarketing strategy. When they see you using the brand hashtags and see the engagement on those posts of yours, they will start seeing you not only as a fan user but also a potential influencer
–Use on sponsored posts: So let’s say you did all that and have started getting offers from brands for collaboration. Bloggers can then use hashtags like #sponsored on their posts be it on Social media or on their actual blog post itself , thus saving the time and space for a long disclaimer. Adding this within the visibility frame of the users make you a more trusted influencer. In some countries the disclaimer is a mandatory legal requirement too.
Since Instagram is a highly visual medium and is optimized for mobile usage, just consider hiding your hashtags from the users. So on the mobile phone the use sees only your beautiful photograph and you catchy caption. Now only if they are really interested in keyword research they might scroll down and find your hashtags, which is fine. When you hide those hashtags from sight, as a content creator you are not spoiling the user experience, but at the same time, you are able to speak with the machine learning algorithm in the background telling it what your content is about.
This was my first post to share my learning about the art and science of blogging in a modern age. I hope you got one good idea from here which you can implement to take your blog to the next level. Surprisingly, I got some ideas while writing the post itself. I plan to add another post in the series about back-links and authority. Would you be interested? Let me know in my comments – you can as well tell me “It’s not your domain Sinjana, get back to writing itineraries”, I’d take that.😊
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This post comes on Week3 of September in#MyFriendAlexa Challenge, a challenge that helped me connect with a wonderful community and inspired me to start this category “Blogger’s corner” to share my limited knowledge. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter
Yes i would be interested in back-links n authority BLOG. This blog is amazing ; learnt a few new things.THANKS FOR SHARING.
This was super useful, thanks! I till date couldn't figure out why we need to use hashtags… now need to figure out which are the right ones for my post! Please continue with this series! Most helpful!
Nice writing, and an interesting topic. Hashtags are the self a trending topic. Never thought so much into this pound sings. Will start using more optimally. Thanks.
I came to know about hashtag and its use only after entering into blogging. Before that i Didn't even know how it worked
A well detailed article! loved it #MyfriendAlexa #Viddhreads
Really helpful and I will start using them optimally now
I am glad I read this. I use hashtags in my captions on Instagram, which I must stop. Will use them the right way now onwards, following your helpful tips. Thanks for sharing.
Very nice and informative post #MyFriendAlexa
What a brilliant post
Liked your post. Very informative for socially active generation that's us;)
Thanks for the information, I use hashtaq, I have not details information. Thanks again for sharing
Thanks for a very exhaustive article on the usefulness and importance of the hashtag. Actually I am a software professional and have some idea of how important the hashtag is but your summary of all the valid points was very useful. I have also been guilty of not using hashtags appropriately. I will try and use them now for a better reach for my post. #MyFriendAlexa
Brilliant post! Extremely informative and very well researched. It's a surprise how people continue to use hashtags blindly, hopefully, your post will make them see light. Thank you for bringing this one to us. Keep writing!
I too realised the power of a hashtag just about last year. Until then I was an absolute novice. Thanks to this little sign, we can get quite a lot of attention to our posts! 😛
Very useful and informative post
That's an amazing post. I never paid much attention to hashtags but now I think I should. Thanks for sharing.
I use my branded hashtags #MySweetNothings and #Viviwrites.
I myself have also recently started studying hashtags, algorithms etc in more detail and there is so much to learn!
An informative post. Learnt something today. I have just started using hashtags, because they are mandatory for Alexa campaign. Yet, I didn't understand the game. Your post made it all very clear to me. thanks buddy
This is an informative post for those who are unaware of the use of hashtag
Great info. Well detailed and well written. Pretty straightforward approach. I would be eagerly waiting for your next post on the blog links
When it comes to social media marketing, your hashtags are the key to SEO and visibility of your content. Hashtags can also help you spark, search and unite conversations happening across the internet, and can attract new followers to your accounts. But don't feel intimidated. You certainly don’t need to overdo it with hashtags. In fact, tweets with a single hashtag tend to get 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more. Using trending hashtags can also mean taking advantage of recurring standard hashtags that people use, such as #tbt for Throwback Thursday. Again, your content should make sense when paired with these hashtags, and you want to aim for short, punchy contributions to the topic that will make people stop and read.
A very interesting post on Hashtags! I follow a few hashtags, but when irrelevant images or quotes pop-up, the fun in it is not there, as you rightly pointed out. I would love to read your next post on this blogging series. Very well written!
The post has showered a lot of light on use of hashtags. Will be following to read more.
I have been using hashtags for a long time but I had no idea that it had these many benefits. I also didn't know that Instagram has a restriction of 30 #hashtags per post.
Very helpful…waiting for the next one
Hello Sinjana , Even I had some doubts about too many hashtags in Instagram posts but , that's the power of that social media platform. Those many hashtags won't work totally on Facebook. Thank you very much for sharing this detail information . #MyFriendAlexa #SujatawdeReads
Wow!!! U made my day. I’m totally a newbie when it comes to #. Thanks for the info.
I extensively use hashtag on my instagram caption which I will stop doing now
Great post. #sindhureads #myfriendalexa
Thanks Sujata. I'm learning these too
Thanks for your contribution!
Dont stop using hashtags just add some line breaks between the caption and the hashtags in instagram
Thanks Milan. I'm working on the next post in this series
Thanks for reading! glad to be of help
Wow! Thats an exhausting post about the use of hashtags. I learnt the value of hashtag after joining twitter. They are really helpful in many ways.
Hate those #followtofollow hashtags too.. Instagram does the best value proposition for hashtags. I observed this when I was posting poetry there and most of my posts got read only because of the #tags
Namratha from #firstgreenstep
A wonderfully informative post on hashtags! Thank you for sharing it.
You have cleared all the queries for a newbie 🙂 I had faced a lot issues for hashtags, in the beginning many of us got tricked with banned hashtags and that is when we came to know about banned hashtags.
Loved this post, it was quite descriptive and informative. I have been using hashtags in my Instagram posts but could never understand how they work. I still struggle to find out the trending hashtags & how can I land my post in the top ones so that it doesn't get lost among the many great ones. Looks like I need to do some better research. I will be looking forward to your next post of the series. So much to learn in blogging!
Wonderful and really helpful. People hardly know but they still use daily. Haha
#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia
It is good to know more on hashtags. I have seen hashtags when used wisely can help in increasing the reach.
It was great reading this post. Very useful information.
Interesting topic and a very informative post… I have seen hashtags to be very useful for increasing reach, especially on Instagram…
I'm still learning to find and use the right hashtags. The reach and exposure they help you achieve cannot be argued upon. Good post.
Till recently I too made fun of hashtags. Also, I hated to see huge chunks of hashtags especially on Instagram.
It's good to understand how to use hashtags optimally. Thanks for this informative post.
The power of Hashtags is like pen is mightier than the sword. I am a late bloomer and technologically challenged but learning the ropes of the trade. Thank you for all that information. #wordsmithkaurreads
This is indeed very useful and well written to understand the importance of hashtag.
Thank you for sharing these insights. Will make sure I use these tips
I usually be very cautious as my instagram account is dedicated to food blogging. It's amazing how these hashtags can help you get the outreach!
That's quite information on hashtags. Thank you for sharing
That is useful . Everyone would benefit from it . I am a rare user of Insta . But reading your post , I think I should catch the power of hashtags on Instagram.
Interesting!! Read Something UNIQUE in a While. Superb!!!!
Thanks for the useful post. Never realized the importance of hashtags until recently.
Very helpful and informative post! Will share it with friends and colleagues 🙂
Thank you for the tips, especially tagging brands. Never before this brilliant idea entered into my mind. Very informative post.
This is helpful and brilliant post. And finally someone said about that hashtag spams. Waiting for next post in series.