Unique Kimberley Blog

What's The Big Deal with Hashtags

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  • Friday, March 04, 2016

In the 12 years since the launch of Faceook, the hashtag has become the single most powerful, misunderstood and underutilized tools of social media.  Hashtags are now used regularly and often ineffectiely by millions of social media users across a range of social media platforms.Chris Messina, a social technology expert, is credited to have come up with the very first hashtag on Twitter. He first posted the hashtag #barcamp in August 2007. That tweet was posted like this: ?how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]??Messina came up with the hashtag for the purpose of gathering discussions and online exchanges regarding Barcamp, a technology conference gathering activity that spans worldwide. Discoverability was the original intent, allowing users to discover and share content regardless of their online relationship to one another. You don't need to like, friend or follow to discover and share using hashtags.Nine years on from Messina's historic tweet and the hashtag has become a feature of all social media platforms, with facebook being the last to adopt it in 2013. The use of the hashtag has become common place in posts, although the function can often be intriguing. I have nieces and nephews who use the hashtag as an exclamation mark. So instead of posting something like, "great night at the bar last night, pity you didn't make it!" they'll post "great night at the bar last night, #pityyodidntmakeit". When you click on that hashtag you soon realize that there is nothing else to discover because no one else is posting content using that tag, but it is effective as an exclamation mark.While all platforms now have hashtag functionality, its use and effect vary from platform to platform. Twitter users are the most strategic hashtaggers. Given the 140 character limitation effective Tweeters choose their hashtags wisely finding those that will maximize their reach. Contrast this with Instagram where users take full advantage of 2,200 character limits and stack their posts with multiple and often seemingly unrelated tags.The hashtag can help business tell a story using content created by your customers sharing their positive experiences with your brand. Businesses that define their own hashtags and encourage their customers to use them will see greater results as their customers more effectively share their experiences. Unique Kimberley is our hashtag and we're encouraging everyone with a unique Kimberley experience to tag their posts with it. You can see the results on our #UniqueKimberley page.

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