Whether you like it or not, the hashtag (#hashtag), is here to stay. Over it’s 10 years of existence, we’ve seen the hashtag grow and morph into something truly unique, useful, and often misunderstood.
Admittedly, the hashtag changed the way the world functioned online.
Around the world, the amount of people that know and use the hashtag is absolutely mindblowing.
Because of that popularity, other social networks are using hashtags to transform their platform and create mini “movements” inside their platforms.
This was the turning point in which social media platforms operated. The owners of these tech giants understood the power of the hashtag and made it much easier to find content related to them.
To delve deeper into Telegraph’s article, I wanted to share a couple more stats with you.
The First Ever Hashtag
The first ever hashtag used was #barcamp. Wikipedia says, “BarCamp is an international network of user-generated conferences that are focused around technology and the web.”
BarCamp held it’s first conference in Palo Alto, California from August 19-21 in 2005.
The event had 200 attendees and was created in less than one week from concept to event.
Today’s world just knows what a hashtag is. With the social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other tech giants making the hashtag an integral part of their platforms, it’s no secret that people are using them to create movements for themselves, their brands, and even whole communities.
Hashtags are a great way to find specific types of content and people because each platform has its own searchable way to search out posts, pictures, people, and more simply by typing the hashtag into the search bar.
Think about any trending event. The best way people spread their message is by the use of hashtags.
As of now, there’s been a lot of movements of equality and change within the United States because of the George Floyd incident.
Tags like #peacefulprotest, #blm, justiceforfloyd, #blacklivesmatter and others are being used around the globe to share the oneness of our society at a time like this.
There’s no better way to find content related to these types of posts than by searching up through hashtags.
The amount of reach that a topic can gain from leveraging hashtags has created some of the biggest movements in the world.
Spreading like wildfire, it’s one of the most rapidly growing ways to seek change and gain momentum for any movement.
Hashtags aren’t only good for creating change in the world and movements for certain causes, but they’re also a powerful way to create a lasting brand impression on the world.
Personal brands and businesses are using hashtag campaigns to organically grow their following on an increasingly global scale.
Take Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign. The simple idea of having bottles and cans of Coke with specific names on their drove a huge amount of sales and equally impressively drove a ton of user generated content on social platforms.
According to AdEspresso, the reason the #ShareACoke campaign worked so well was because it brought personalization on a massive scale in conjunction with a community feel.
The point is that with a little thought behind it, anybody can create a hashtag movement for any kind of cause, personal brand, or any business.
And it’s likely that the virality of a branded hashtag will have exponential growth curves that take off once people start hearing about it.
Obviously, Coca-Cola promoted this heavily to the point where people knew exactly what they were supposed to do (#ShareACoke) and promote it via their social media channels.
That should show you just how much power the hashtag yields when it comes to free promotions of brands and businesses.
The hashtag doesn’t have to be leveraged only for specific causes like #alsicebucketchallenge or #blm (#blacklivesmatter), but instead, with a little thought behind it and a story like the #ShareACoke promotion, can take off and grow a brand faster than any other channel known in the world today.
Another example of a hashtag leveraged movement is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. If you’re reading this then odds are your newsfeed was chock full of people calling out somebody (nominating them) and having a bucket of ice cold water poured all over their heads.
As the above image explains, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association.
That’s absolutely insane and should prove to you just how powerful leveraging hashtags to create a movement can be.
Just don’t get me wrong, creating movements by leveraging the power of hashtags is not about monetary gains (unless you’re a business).
Creating a movement using hashtags gives normal people the potential to change the world by building an audience by using the right type of hashtags.
Once they gain traction, the sky’s the limit regarding the reach you’ll get.
The #ALSIceBucketChallenge is just one of the many examples that not only affected change in the world, but did so without spending any money on advertising since it was all promoted by the people doing the challenges.
How People Are Using Hashtag Activism To Shape The World We Live In
Because of the power of hashtags to reach specific audiences, there’s been tons of activists that have leveraged hashtags to create powerful movements in society.
Do you know how hard it would have been in the past to create a movement so big that everybody knew about it within the timespan of their lunch hour?
If there was no internet and no hashtag then activists of today would have to spread their messages to the world the same way influential people like Martin Luther King Jr. did.
But now, because life around the world is so connected to each other, it was fitting that people like Tarana Burke who used the hashtag #MeToo in 2006 to empower through empathy,
Or what about filmmaker Saba Diwan using the #NotInMyName hashtag following Junaid Khan being stabbed after an argument over food?
Protests all around the world (peaceful and violent) are being organized by leveraging hashtags that are allowing people to be the change they want to see in the world.
As we marched into the 21st century, gender equality has been in the spotlight quite a bit. It’s no surprise that the hashtag #HeForShe and the movement to involve boys and men in the movement of equal rights for women.
Around the globe, in such places as like the United States, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, and China are leading the movement in #HeForShe activity.
Standing together and living in conjunction with other human beings has been really inspired by leveraging hashtags.
With just the #HeForShe movement, Women are enjoying more and more equal rights and a better quality of life than ever before.
If it wasn’t for the momentum gained the way only a hashtag could, just imagine how far behind we’d be as one world.
And as you’re aware, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, the #HeForShe movement, the #BlackLivesMatter movement are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changing the world.
There’s so much more that the little hashtag has helped to positively impact the planet and I suspect it’s far from over.
If you’re looking to leverage hashtags for your community, your personal brand, your business, or really anything that you have passion for, then you want to be able to learn more about the hashtag on a large scale.
We’ve found a tool called HashtagsForLikes that helps you do hashtag research and shows you detailed stats about that hashtag and all other relevant hashtags, so that you can choose hashtags that will work best for your cause.
That being said, I strongly believe that a branded hashtag or something unique to the world that you can create has just as equal potential to have as huge of an impact as the ones I’ve showcased above.
Just keep in mind that if you truly want to grow a movement based around hashtags then you have to actively promote it and share it everywhere.
Without the social shares, hashtags don’t have such a huge impact on society and on your audience.
The best way to make noise by leveraging hashtags is to get others to become involved in the movement.
Another great way to kickstart a hashtag movement is to get the endorsements of influencers in your community that are committed to the same cause.
With their help, you stand a chance to make something happen with your branded hashtag.
We want to hear you! Have you ever been a part of something bigger than yourself by using a hashtag?
If you have, let us know what you were trying to bring awareness to by leaving us a comment down below.
We want to know your personal story!