Touch-tone telephone service was first unveiled in 1963 and became available to consumers in 1964. A touch-tone phone could make a total of seven tones. The way it worked was, the user pushed one button which produced a combination of two sounds. Microphones hooked to a computer listened for the sounds and was able to decode the number. Two tones together were used because it made it easier for the computer to differentiate the sound from music, voices or background noise. By using a grid, seven tones could make twelve different sounds.
Originally there were no * or # buttons. Today they are a global standard and present on virtually every phone keypad manufactured.
Here is one of the first touch tone phones. It had no * or # buttons, they hadn’t been invented yet.
They were added in 1968, by the 80s, companies figured out what to do with the extra buttons. AT&T introduced a series of “star codes” that let the caller automate things like call back someone who had just called (*69).
The # button became useful for voice-mail systems, in which most utilized the phrase “To finish, press pound.”
Now there is a whole history surrounding the use of the term pound and how it came into being, but let’s fast forward to the new name we all use for this ubiquitous symbol we now call the hashtag.
Since 2007, widespread usage of the # symbol to introduce metadata tags on social media platforms has led to such tags being known as “hashtags”, and from that, the symbol itself is now called a hashtag.
There is a history about how the hashtag came to be used in social media, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself – Google the term “the history of hashtags”.
Hashtags can increase your visibility, getting your content seen by more people than just your followers.
By incorporating #hashtags into your social media and content campaigns, you can expand your reach and increase your audience. Knowing how to use a hashtag is paramount to your success in social media.
Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter (where hashtags were born) announced at a Vancouver TED conference last year that he’s considering a new Twitter model that highlights conversation chains instead of personalities.
“That gives us an opportunity to show all the accounts, and all the hashtags associated with that, which really opens up the perspective that you see,” he said. “That is a huge fundamental shift to bias the entire network away from an accounts-based bias to a topics and interest bias.”
Although Hashtags were born on Twitter, they have been adopted by almost every social network on the planet and more over the Internet and advertising industry. It’s hard to go an hour out of our day without running into one. TV shows, magazine ads and product packaging are just a few examples of where hashtags are being used.
So how can you use hashtags to gain more visibility and awareness for your product or brand? Establish a set of hashtags that relate to your business, product, service and industry segment.
“I believe that Twitter is an interest-based network. What we could do instead is allow you to follow an interest, a trend, a hashtag, or a community,” - Jack Dorsey
Let’s run through a quick way to establish a set of hashtags for your business and then we’ll demonstrate where to use these hashtags to increase your company’s visibility on the Internet.
First let’s identify your industry, whatever single word best describes your industry put a # sign in front of it and congratulations you’ve developed your first hashtag. Now your company name, product name, and so on …
Pro Tip: Don’t capitalize the word you use in the hashtag, let the # sign be the capitalization so to speak. Always use lower case lettering when designing and using hashtags for your business.
Now you’re starting to generate a list – keep this list and start using it anywhere and everywhere. Now let’s say you have a new campaign, what are the hashtags that can be associated with the campaign? Maybe it’s a new product feature or a cause that your firm is backing. List 30 hashtags associated with your business, product or services – go ahead do it now … We’ll wait.
Now where do you use them? First let’s try them in social postings. With every post that goes out include a minimum of three hashtags at the bottom of the post. Don’t overuse them though, posts with dozens of hashtags are seen as insincere and overzealous – use, don’t abuse – they are precious social assets.
Adding three or more hashtags to every post over a thirty-day period will dramatically increase your visibility. But this is just a start, there is another method to increase overall visibility of your company, product or service – trending hashtags.
Go to Twitter and see what the trending hashtags are currently on Twitter.
Now use these hashtags in your posts, but be careful not to use sensitive subject matter to promote your brand. For instance, don’t use a hashtag used with a natural disaster or tragic event to gain visibility for your brand.
There are many stories about social media managers using such and losing rather than gaining followers by assimilating their brand message with a tragic event. Avoid these pitfalls, attach your brand to positive trending terms, there is new ones and they change almost every hour of every day.
Trending topics are simple to find, go to Twitter.com and look for # Explore in the menu on the left, trending topics are listed in order of magnitude. Again, stay away from controversial subjects – but use trending topics to have your brand posts to show up in the feed as searchers use hashtags to drill down to content that matters to them.
But Twitter is the tip of the iceberg, use hashtags on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or any social posts, interactions or comments you make on social media. But again, use decorum and be diplomatic with your use of hashtags –
We can’t stress this enough, think about the repercussions before you post, or just leave it up to the experts at Spark Factory.
Social media network posts are not the only place you can use hashtags, you can use in press releases, blog posts, online forums and other mediums.
Any electronic medium you communicate with can be supplemented using hashtags.
When provided with the opportunity to use “tags” on the Internet, use hashtags. Almost all services will allow you to post a # sign in front of the terms you use to describe your content, including the meta tags associated with your company website and your social media profile themselves.
Further define your brand with a couple of well-placed hashtags on your companies’ social profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Want to prove the power of hashtags to yourself? Try the following experiment:
Post on Twitter or Instagram – first without any hashtags. Write a one or two sentence description about something you want to promote and post it without hashtags and wait 6 hours before returning to see how many likes, loves or retweets you receive on the post. Then go back and either edit or repost the same information and include a couple of well thought out hashtags with the same exact content and come back six hours later.
You’ll be astounded at the difference in uptake and traffic you receive on the post with hashtags.
At Spark Factory our content management team will work with you during the onboarding process to help define the hashtags your brand should utilize to gain visibility –
As your business changes and grows we will continue to hone and revamp your brand’s hashtags.
Spark Factory’s expertise in creating keywords, phrases, and hashtags will skyrocket your growth and build your social media properties to become one of your greatest brand assets.
Contact us today for a complimentary brand assessment that will explore your your social media status and other standings.
Tell us about your business marketing needs at firstname.lastname@example.org