How the hashtag changed the way we communicate: Shrenik Gandhi, White Rivers Media

Guest Column: Shrenik Gandhi, Co-Founder & CEO, White Rivers Media explains how the hashtag has changed the way we communicate in the digital age and how it can be effectively used

e4m by Shrenik Gandhi
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 8:40 AM
Shrenik Gandhi

The pound sign or hashtag was first used as a metadata label by the Internet Relay Chat in 1988. Since then, the hashtag has had a consistent purpose — to categorise messages and online content. 

19 years later (August 2007), blogger Stowe Boyd officially coined the term ‘hashtag’ in his blog. Chris Messina, a social technology expert, is credited to have created and used the very first hashtag on Twitter. He posted the hashtag #barcamp in August 2007.

Soon after that, any word or phrase preceded by the pound symbol became hyperlinked on Twitter. Users have since been able to search Twitter for a hashtag, to find and navigate through tweets that employed said tag.

Today, the use of hashtags has expanded beyond Twitter, to Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook, Tumblr, and now YouTube.

The modernisation of hashtags

Apart from numerous social media platforms, unique hashtags are used for almost every TV show, movie campaign, celebrity & influencer campaign, political campaign, sporting event, breaking news, etc. You cannot go anywhere anymore, without seeing a hashtag that promotes something. You can individually promote these hashtags to interact with your audience, form a group, raise anticipation, and view related news connected to a product or an event.

Do you know how to use hashtags accurately for better-targeted marketing campaigns?

When used strategically, hashtags give you a ton of benefits. They get your content a bigger audience, raise awareness about your brand, boost your SEO, and use hot trends & topics to your advantage, among other things.

What does a Hashtag do that nothing else can?

A hashtag is the most significant clickable search tool that helps a user search and follow content from a particular category or source. It helps in increasing brand awareness, reach and visibility. It makes tracking and quantifying content a simpler process, increase followers/ engagement and aids as an excellent promotional tool.

To get more out of hashtags and build better marketing campaigns, one should do the following:

1. Boost the organic reach of your posts

Ever since Instagram has implemented its latest algorithm, it is now tougher for brands to expand the organic reach of their posts. In order to help Instagram, categorise your content, and place it in front of your intended audience, hashtags emerge as the best weapon in your arsenal!

2. Create branded hashtags

This is probably the most crucial thing you can do for your campaign. Branded hashtags, as the name indicates, contain the name of your brand. They might also contain your company’s slogan, the name of a specific product, or one of your campaigns.

3. Join trending topics

Trending topics can benefit your marketing efforts to a significant extent since they engage many readers. The top hashtags for a trending topic can get your product, service, and brand in front of a fresh audience outside your core digital community.

When put into perspective, endless factors play a role in making a perfect hashtag campaign. Learning from the campaigns of the past, we at White Rivers Media had created a customised checklist that helps brand avoid past mistakes and ups your hashtag game. It comprises everything a marketer like you should know about hashtags.



(The author Shrenik Gandhi is Co-Founder & CEO, White Rivers Media, a full-service digital agency)


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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