What is a hashtag?

The hashtag (also known as the “pound” symbol) was created by former Google
designer and current social media guru, Chris
. The year was 2007, and Messina’s
idea was based around trying to organize groups of people on Twitter using the
common tag. It was a way for people to gather and interact on a specific
subject. The first tweet ever to use a hashtag:


At this time, Twitter didn’t even believe that the idea of these hashtags would
ever take off. They thought it would be too technology focused to be picked up
by the common person. Over ten years later, we know that this wasn’t the case,
as the word hashtag was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in the year

Hashtags on Instagram:

Even though hashtags were created on and for Twitter, they quickly spread over
to other social media platforms. On Instagram, they are most commonly used for
growth purposes. If you click on a certain hashtag, it will gather every post
that the hashtag was used on in one single place.


At the top of the page will be the most popular posts. What posts appear at the
top of the page is based on a few different things. For example, someone with a
lot of followers is more likely to be shown at the top. Another factor boosting
someone’s post to the top of the page will be based on the engagement rate of
the post. Those with a higher rate of engagement will be shown before those that
had little to no interaction on their post. The higher the post, the more
discoverable it will be, and the more likely that someone who doesn’t follow the
account will still be able to see it.

Under the insights section, statistics of where other users found your posts
will be available. You will be able to see how many people saw your post due to
your hashtag. This allows a user to see how effective their use of their
hashtags were, or were not. This will help them in the future to have a better
understanding, and use their hashtags more efficiently going forward.

Branded Hashtags:

The concept that Instagram gathers all of the posts that use a certain hashtag
really is beneficial to brands. It allows them to promote a given campaign or
product promotion and have everything fall under that one tag.
Aerie, a female clothing and
undergarment company has maximized their hashtag capabilities by creating one of
the most successful hashtag campaigns in social media history. Their #AerieReal
campaign promotes body positivity and loving yourself in your most authentic and
natural state. By using the hashtag, and encouraging everyday Instagram users to
upload photos with the hashtag, it allowed them to better connect with their
audience. They even repost some of the user generated content to their own page.
Aerie is taking advantage of Instagram’s new feature of hashtags in their bio,
which makes the tag even more discoverable. Just by promoting this tag, they
developed deeper connections with their fans while also gaining assets to use on
their official social channels.

Following a Hashtag:

As hashtags have become more and more popular in the Instagram world, new
features have been released to accommodate them. Recently, Instagram launched a
feature that allows users to follow hashtags.


This allows users to follow the
things they love, without having to follow a specific person. For example, if
you are really passionate about cosmetics, but don’t want to have to follow
20-30 different cosmetics companies, you can now just follow the hashtag

beautybloggers instead. By following this hashtag, you can see posts from

multiple different beauty bloggers without having to follow them individually.
When you search hashtags, depending on how popular they are, sometimes Instagram
will pull a bunch of relevant videos from that hashtag and allow you to scroll
through videos that contain the hashtag. Being able to now follow hashtags has
definitely made the Instagram world a much more interactive and convenient place
for its users. It’s now so much easier for people to organize their insta feeds
with the things they want to see the most.