Last week the Twitter hashtag celebrated its 10th birthday. For those interested in a little history, the hashtag was created by designer Chris Messina, who asked on August 23, 2007 the innocuous question “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” For those burning to know what the heck barcamp is, “BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.” Although the hashtag idea originally received mixed reactions, it obviously overcame its humble beginnings to become the ubiquitous symbol it is today. Facebook started using them in 2013, and they can be found in pretty much all forms of social media now. Today, an average of 125 million hashtags a day are posted on twitter.
Hashtags have been used to mobilize social awareness and movements (#BringBackOurGirls, #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins, #prayforparis), sports (#WWE, #mlb, #nbafinals), for humor (who could forget #cofveve?, Jimmy Fallon’s #momtexts), and for pretty much any other purpose (or just for fun) under the sun. For those wondering, the most popular hashtag is #FF. This stands for Follow Friday, where (on Fridays) users recommend other accounts and people to follow in order to build their own following.
Even financial services have entered the hashtag world, from hashtags devoted to those interested in major financial organizations or stock exchanges (#Fed, #NYSE, #NASDAQ), to types of investments (#stocks, #IPO) to more needs based or descriptive hashtags (#personalfinance, #401k, #wealthmanagement, #womenandwealth). For those interested in what devotees to the Oracle of Omaha are up to, #WarrenBuffett is there for you.
Judicious and consistent use of relevant hashtags in social media posts can help to increase your firm’s visibility online, while also reinforcing and strengthening your brand. So, go ahead, give it a try #BeBold.