Hashtags as an element of communication in social media

Service Business

Hashtags are an element thanks to which it is possible to increase the reach and click-throughs on social networks. However, hashtags are not helpful everywhere - so where are they worth using, and where is the opposite?

# - which is a hashtag

The popular # badge appeared on phones already in the 1960s of the last century, but only in the era of social networking sites did it gain popularity. It is thanks to social networks that hashtags have received a completely new use.

The # sign on a social networking site is used to tag one topic, making it easy to search. For example, using the hashtag #kawa will display all posts where it was used. In telephones, the # sign in conjunction with a specific sequence of numbers is used, for example, to check the remaining minutes or the account balance.

Hashtags as a way of informing people

Hashtags first appeared in the IRC messenger and its chat channels. The # sign survived a revolution in 2007, when a former Google employee on his social network account asked Internet users what they thought about grouping topics using this sign. The change on portals did not start until a few months later. Users began to tag events en masse - e.g. after the fire in San Diego, a lot of information appeared thanks to the #SanDiegoFire tag. Also after the 2011 earthquake in Virginia - just 2 minutes after the announcement in the media, nearly 15,000 entries with the hashtag appeared on portals.

How quickly information spreads thanks to # can also be seen in sports. During the NBA dunk competition, just 120 seconds after the advertisement was broadcast with the hashtag #spriteslam, as many as 50,000 entries appeared.

Nowadays, the use of hashtags seems normal and common. They are used in virtually every social networking site. They have become popular on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ - each of them is almost saturated with them.

Hashtags - how to use them correctly?

The case of hashtags does not matter much. It only helps other users read them. It is much easier to read the hashtag #wTelewizjiNicNieMa than #wtelewizjinicniema. It is also very important not to put a space between words - then the hashtag will only apply to the first word. Regularity in marking posts is important. If we want our readers to reach all posts on this topic, it is important to use one label. Marking posts with the same hashtag increases the effectiveness of our posts - it can be, for example, #mojewypieki. Then our readers thanks to this hashtag will go to all our entries marked with it.

However, Polish users of social networks must be very careful when tagging. Hashtags should not be changed by chance. In the posts of Polish users, tags in the dative and genitive dominate, while tagging works best in the denominator. Therefore, it is much more effective to tag an entry with the hashtag #premier than #premiere or #premier. However, there is nothing to prevent the use of Polish characters - then the entries are sent to the Polish part of users, e.g. Twitter.

Twitter helps its users by advising how many hashtags should be included in the post. The entry should contain about two tags. The larger number causes irritation and reluctance to read tweets by other people.

Hashtags and Facebook

In the case of Twitter or Instagram, hashtags are a helpful element and increase the range of users to whom our message reaches. The example of the social giant Facebook is a completely different story. EdgeRank Checker decided to check to what extent hashtags affect the sharing of messages further and to which group they go. After researching Twitter, the result was not surprising - it is a portal where hashtag tagging was invented - on Twitter it is used by over 70% of companies with an account there.

The research carried out on Facebook surprised even the researchers themselves. Almost 35,000 posts with hashtags were examined. Not only did they not increase the reach of the post, but also a decrease in interest was noted. The reach of the post among friends did not increase, in addition, hashtags prevented the lack of liking or commenting on posts.

The researchers unequivocally stated that this is conditioned by the purpose of both websites. Twitter is designed to share information with the world and read posts that interest them. It is completely different in the case of the Facebook platform. Users are used primarily to contact their friends and observe people or profiles they are interested in.

In addition, it is worth noting that, unlike Twitter, the Facebook platform did not conduct a campaign related to the correct use of hashtags. The options related to promoting your posts are one of the main elements that Facebook raises for money. It is difficult for the portal to switch to the # sign and free post promotion.

Hashtags in companies

Companies are increasingly turning to tagging. They use this element mainly in marketing campaigns. An example is the American version of "Newsweek" - after nearly 80 years of publishing, the management board decided to give up printing the magazine and move completely to the Internet. The last cover of the popular weekly had the inscription #LastPrintIssue. This action had the desired effect. On the Internet, in social media, there are thousands of entries with the hashtag from the cover.

A similar procedure was carried out by the creators of the American series "Breaking Bad". The tag #GoodbyeBreakingBad was promoted in the last episode. It did its job and spread through social media. Only in the USA, the tag was used 1.24 million times - this gives a really big result - as many as 22,000 entries for every minute of the series. This shows how powerful hashtags and their correct application are.