Social Media and the Power of the #Hashtag

Christian Thomson

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

The Hashtag # – It’s a scary but very powerful concept if you use it wisely.

People use the hashtag on most social media platforms such as #Twitter, #Facebook, #Instagram, #Tumblr, #Google+, #Pinterest etc. with one specific goal in mind – to categorize a certain topic, idea, thought or basically anything to start a conversation.

Whether you like them or not, hashtags are a key part of social media marketing.

Do not abuse the hashtag, save it for when it’s necessary. Too many hashtags can look like a robot hacked into your account, so keep it simple by using a maximum of 2 – 3 hashtags in every other post.

Where did it even come from?

The hashtag was born in San Francisco, California of course; the main headquarters of Twitter Inc.

The first use of a hashtag was on August 23rd 2007 on Twitter by Google employee, Chris Messina who is now known as the “Hash Godfather.”

When people think of #hashtag they instantly think of Twitter and only Twitter.

But there are so many other social media platforms and useful things you can do with this tool, and I will show you.

Let’s start with Twitter.

Big shout out to Twitter for creating the Trending Topics, which allows hashtags stand out from other social media platforms.

Hashtags allow you to “tag” your tweets so that they can easily be categorized in the Twitter search engine. You can add a #Hashtag to any part of your tweet. I’ve mentioned in my Twitterverse article how to utilize the hashtag and what trending topics are about so I won’t get into that, however one major problem I’ve seen occurring over and over is that people are putting hashtags in their tweets but their account is private.

This only allows your followers to see your hashtag and if you’re trying to start a conversation worldwide and wanting to gain followers then you need to un-private your account in order to allow everyone to see. #Contests on Twitter Not many people know about this but the easiest social media contests are on Twitter. It’s a great marketing tool for businesses.

Many radio stations, clothing stores, celebrities and magazines use the hashtag to allow people to answer a question, give an opinion, share a photo etc. by using a hashtag. If you feel like you deserve to win something just search something like: “#Contest #Vancouver” and see what you can try to win in your city. Here’s an example:


Award shows, news stations, and artists use the hashtag to their advantage and it allows everyone to connect with one another.


A great marketing tool used by Justin Bieber was the hashtag: #MusicMondays which allowed him to promote his new album by releasing a new song every Monday and having his fans trend #MusicMondays.

If you want to get an in-depth look at what hashtags are trending on Twitter visit:

Lastly, a tip from me to you, do some researching for the hashtag you intend to use before you use it! You wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business or personal account to a negative, controversial or embarrassing topic which could get you in trouble.


The most abused use of #hashtags are on Instagram. People hashtag anything and everything to attract followers and likes.
For example, if you have a photo of yourself, also known as a “selfie…”
These are the tags you would see: #cute #love #TagsForLikes #TFLers #tweegram #photooftheday #11likes #amazing #followme #follow4follow #like4like #look #instalike #picoftheday #food #instadaily #instafollow #like #girl #iphoneonly #instagood #bestoftheday #instacool #follow #webstagram #colorful #style #air #swag.

It might work for gaining likes and followers over a period of time but it makes you look thirsty. Keep it classy and here’s a tip on how to avoid looking desperate for followers and likes:

If you’re new to Instagram and want exposure, instead of posting all those tags in your caption of the photo – put all those tags in a comment to yourself on the same photo, this allows you to delete the comment after you reached your desired amount of likes. Voila! It looks like you’ve never even hashtagged! This tactic can be used for previous photos that you’ve posted as well.
Also, if your account is private on Instagram, nobody other than your followers can see your photo, so keep that in mind.

One of the best and original hashtag is #ThrowbackThursday #TBT

Try to be descriptive in your tags, if you’re a huge ‘Breaking Bad” fan then the hashtag #BreakingBad will connect you to Instagram users who are also fans.

A great site to see what the most used hashtags for Instagram is


Most people will agree that Facebook hashtags aren’t useful to a regular user. However, it’s probably one of the most effective for businesses. Since pages are public for everyone to see it’s best to capitalize the use of a hashtag to attract traffic to your page.

This is a great tool for businesses trying to get their product, brand & contests exposed. Number one rule of success on Facebook is to be consistent with your hashtags on your company’s page. Sometimes you can use a hashtag, and then no one else uses it, leaving you discouraged and shy away from using hashtags. Everything takes patience including your use of hashtagging.

For personal use, hashtags turn topics and phrases into clickable links in your posts on your personal timeline. You control who sees your posts, including those with hashtags. Unlike Twitter and Instagram, Facebook isn’t about gaining followers, unless you’re a public figure.

For example, if you add a hashtag to a post that you only share with a certain group of your friends, only that group will be able to see that post.

A nice tip is that if you connect all your social media accounts to your Facebook, and by doing that you can save some time by being able to post the same content across several platforms.

Tumblr, Pinterest and Google+ all similarly share the same type of hashtag laws. Once you learn how to use one specific social media platform’s hashtagging, it all correlates with one another, making you a #HashGod or #HashGoddess.

I’ll leave this article with Justin Timberlake & Jimmy Fallon’s take on #Hashtags

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