In How-To, Marketing, Social Media

Originally seen in IRC chat, hashtags have become a huge part of our online social media platforms such as Instagram. Let’s learn a bit more about them so you can put them to use within your marketing efforts.

What we will cover in this post

  • #Hashtag History.
  • What #hashtags are for.
  • How and when to use #hashtags.
  • When not to use #hashtags.

Hashtag History.


The pound sign or hashtag as we call it now was adopted for use within IRC networks circa 1988 and it was used to label groups and topics. IRC was an online chat room where you could join various groups and chat with people from around your area or people with interests similar to yours. You could join groups such at #Mildura, #webdesign, and various others.

The Hashtag was adopted by Twitter in 2007 when a twitter developer started advocating for its use. They were not immediately useful to begin with but were used heavily during the San Diego 2007 Wildfires #wildfires #sandiegofire. Hashtags were forced on the internet by us as users, people on twitter just started using hashtags and eventually twitter had to adopt them.

Hashtags become an easy way to categorise topics of interest and more importantly current interest topics. In 2009 Twitter began hyper linking hashtags which meant they became a lot more useful and users could now click Hashtags and be presented with other posts with the same hashtags. Extremely popular hashtags now appear on Twitter’s “Trending Topics” area.

Hashtags have now become part of most popular social networks and continue to be the easiest way to classify and categorise posts and images online.

What hashtags are for.


Hashtags are used on social media platforms to categorise content that would take far too long and a lot of technology to automatically categories. With so much growth on the internet grouping, similar subjects and ideas become very hard, the way around this was to have something that could be attached to any post, video, article and similar online information. This is why Hashtags came about, as a way to group topics by just adding a simple # and a word or group of words.
So as we implied a hashtag is a word or any group of words that have the # sign in front of them #example #forexample. On most online platforms such as Instagram and users can click these hashtags to find posts that are similar and related to this hashtag.

How and when to use #hashtags on Instagram.


Hashtags can be used on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, and Others. Each social network handles them a little different so make sure you check how you should apply them to the network you are posting on.

It is important to use hashtags when speaking about a certain topic. This allows your post to be seen by anyone else who is searching for this hashtag and interested in the topic.

When posting images you should always use hashtags as there is no easy way for algorithms to detect what your image is about, having hashtags enables your image post to be discovered easily.

Some networks rely heavily on hashtags and it’s important you always use hashtags on these platforms, the main ones are Twitter and Instagram you must have hashtags on these platforms to be seen.

Hashtags do more than just enable users to find your post. They can also add context, humour and voice to your social posts. By using hashtags in a funny way #myweirdwaiter or even using them to give yourself a unique voice and show your personality #lovethecountry #liverural #hearmeout.

Not sure what hashtags to use? Use relevant hashtags by seeing what others are doing in your industry or business. It’s time to start getting involved in these platforms, go click through a few hashtags on Instagram and twitter and find other interesting hashtags that people are using with the current generic ones, then apply these to your posts.

When not to use #hashtags.

  • If that is all you are putting in a post.
  • Twice in the same post, this will look spammy.
  • If it’s got nothing to do with your post.
  • If it’s too broad a topic
  • Too many times.


“#scifi #gravity #movie #awesome #hashtagking”

“Social media is a great place to meet #friends, I have all my #friends on Facebook! #friends”

“Really great weather today! #politics”

“The grapes are beautiful and fresh from Mildura, #farm”


“Digital Elevate is a great place to learn about digital marketing. #socialmedia #digitalelevate #digital #marketing”

I hope you all enjoyed this post and we would love your feedback below.

Patrick McMahon
Web Division Happiness Team

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