Former Google developer, Chris Messina, is a tech guru who utilizes all the latest trends. In 2007, Twitter hit the scene and became the next best thing to Facebook. And during a San Diego massive fire, Messina wanted to spread the news instantly along with gaining the ability to connect with other people who were being impacted by it. Already having suggested to Twitter the integration of hashtags, he was turned down. They called it “too nerdy.” Regardless, he started the eventual trend. An avid user on IRC (internet relay chat), Messina was familiar with the pound sign. And so it began… “#SanDiegoFire.” He posted hashtags on Twitter and after a slow start it took off. Instead of searching aimlessly for things about a particular topic, the hashtag instantly connects people by grouping tweets, forming a community with a common interest. Individuals searching for information on a specific topic could find it fast. In 2009, Twitter realized the positive impact of hashtags and incorporated them into their platform. From there, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets have had huge success in the implementation of the hashtag. It has been used to represent movements. For growing businesses, it is the biggest avenue in attracting more consumers by connecting with a target audience. That said, finding the right hashtags to use is important. The more users connecting with key hashtags, the bigger the audience.
- Ritetag.com – This is an excellent site for finding out what is happening on social media platforms in real-time. Simply type in a hashtag that you believe could be popular and it will display the various ways a hashtag related to your input is being used. Ritetag displays top hashtags hourly along with what is increasing and decreasing in popularity. Another useful tool is the image tags, which offer numerous suggestions for usage.
- Hashtagify.me – A display of popularity in hashtags per week, month, and everything in between on both Instagram and Twitter, specifically. The site also offers spelling variants in other countries along with a lot of other useful information.
- Keyhole.co – Keyhole is a great tool for businesses to not only discover who is talking about what but to track influencers as well as view analytics on their own social media sites. Analysis of competitors is also available among other things.
Hashtags are an important strategy in promoting a business. In the beginning, it takes time. The goal is to keep running the marathon. There will be setbacks along the way. When Chris Messina initially came up with his hashtag idea, the response wasn’t promising.
“It was one of those things where I had so many haters in the beginning that I thought this thing would never pick up,” Messina said in an interview once with WCCO-TV. “But, secretly, I sort of felt like, Come on, guys, this is the simplest thing that could work.”
And worked, it definitely did.