How to Use Hashtags

The hashtag just recently turned 10! We’ve whipped up this article to give you a rundown of what makes the hashtag iconic and how you can use it for your business.

Hashtags should be used for your online marketing strategy, but they should be used right. Major social media platforms have integrated the wonders of hashtag because of the community engagement it sparks. And when there’s community, there’s certainly your target audience there.

While there’s no one-for-all formula in hashtag usage, a general rule of thumb is that you don’t overdo it. Overdoing can comprise using too many and/or using unrelated hashtags in your post. As much as they rake in a lot of engagement, your aim is to get the right engagement.

Before we indulge you with our neat hashtag guide, we’ll introduce you to some interesting facts about this iconic symbol.


History of Hashtag

Chris Messina

If you’ve been in the digital industry long enough, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of him. While Messina has a remarkable record in Google+, Web Foundations, and Mozilla, he’s better known as the inventor of hashtag. How did it start?

With a tweet.

Messina tweeted “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” at 10:25pm on August 23, 2007. He wrote a proposal on it soon enough and it’s all detailed here. He calls it a “stupid idea”, but we’re just glad it’s kept users and marketers linked.

Timeline of Hashtag

After Messina shot his hashtag proposal to Twitter on 2007, the big time micro-blogging platform launched it by 2009. Twitter started listing all tweets that were preceded by a hashtag.

Of course other rising social network sites (SNS) that time weren’t going to get left behind. As soon as the hashtag feature caught fire, Instagram went ablaze with it in 2011.

Hashtags gained more relevance beyond curating topics. The uprising during the Arab Spring was sparked when #Bahrain became the battlecry in 2011. The hashtag became one of the most used in record.

Google+ caught up and started supporting hashtags by October 2011. Superbowl, one of the most watched events, began using hashtags for their ads in 2013. Facebook, on the other hand, bloomed a little later on June 2013.

Today, it’s hard to spot a single ad campaign without a hashtag. Potential customers are just hashtagging it everywhere in the digital space. It pays to know what hashtags do that can help you boost your marketing campaign.

What do they do?

Curate topic

Hashtags mainly curate topic. By curate we mean they manage and group topics so you can find and track discussions on it. This makes it easier for users and marketers to discover each other.

Increase visibility

Better discoverability means better visibility. The chances of your brand being found is higher when there’s a community for it or for what it’s about.

Engage users

Targeting your intended audience becomes easier when they can be found on a specific thread. Once you find a suitable community for your brand, engagement becomes easier because you both know what’s buzzing.


Hashtag Use on Social Media

Now that you have some basic hashtag knowledge, here are some hashtag tips to note when using it on major social networks.


Previous researches have a pretty solid conclusion regarding hashtag use on Facebook. Use as minimally as possible (at most two), and only when there’s something you need to promote like an event or product. Facebook doesn’t use hashtag in the same way Twitter and Instagram does, thus, it’s not as important to incorporate it in every post.


There’s a certain limit to the effectivity of hashtags on Twitter. Even when it is the homeland of hashtag, using only up to two is the most appropriate. This is also in consideration of the 140-character limit. If anything, using more than two significantly affects engagement, bringing it down by 17%.


Hashtags seem more comfortable on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags for a single post, and using more than 11 is proven to increase engagement by up to 79.5%. However, you should note that Instagram tends to “shadowban” or withhold dissemination of your post. This is caused when Instagram suspects you are a bot or you’re using bots. Using too many hashtags is one of these suspicious behaviors. Make sure to use relevant hashtags and try not to go over 11 all the time.


Hashtag for Social Media Marketing

We’ve shown you some general tips based on independently conducted researches. But they’re not hard and fast rules, and you’re always free to experiment. Every company, brand, and campaign is different, so adjust your marketing strategy. And make sure you use all available social media tools to boost your engagement.

Project Assistant has a team that has grown native to everything digital, and social media is one of its key marketing skills. Whether it’s hashtags, scheduling, or analytics, we can produce the right social media strategies to bridge you to your customers. In a world that’s grown fond of digital, bring in the right people to optimize the digital for you. 

Isabella Zerrudo

Isabella is our Web Content Manager whose love for words is matched by her preference for tea. She enjoys horror films at night, reading on rainy days, crochet on sunny ones, and hoodies no matter the weather.

When not busy managing posts and writing content, she updates herself on SEO, digital marketing, and social media strategies and ideas that she can write about and use later on.