A hashtag is a word or multi-word phrase which follows the # symbol.

Common hashtags include #TBT, or #PicOfTheDay.

Hashtags primarily support the categorization of content on social media channels, making it easier for users to search through millions of posts. With hashtags, it’s possible to track trending topics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Hashtags are also common in marketing campaigns, as they support and optimize brand reach.

The history of the hashtag

The history of the hashtag for social media goes back to Chris Messina, former Google employee. Chris, a developer relations expert and designer suggested that Twitter should use the pound sign (#) to categorize posts for groups.

Messina was the first person to use the hashtag on a social platform and users began to follow suit. It took a little while for the trend to catch on, but today, the hashtag has moved beyond Twitter to appear on every social channel.

How to use a hashtag

Hashtags are everywhere.

On the surface, using a hashtag is simple – all you need to do is add the “#” sign before a word or phrase. However, for a hashtag to be effective at supporting a brand’s marketing campaigns, it needs a specific strategy. The basic rules of hashtags include:

Why do people use hashtags?

hashtag word cloud

Social media users haven’t always had hashtags to organize their posts.

The hashtag has become more popular over the years as more people have swarmed onto social platforms. With so much new content posted every day, a hashtag makes it easier to find and discuss the topics that are most important to you.


The key to a successful hashtag campaign is finding the right tags and committing to proper planning.