In the last decade, hashtags have played a vital role in many issues whether we realise it or not, and with the ever-increasing rise of social media into society, they’ve become a pivotal part of it. 

From aiding in creating awareness of social injustices happening worldwide, or the ability to help start an entire political movement, hashtags are everywhere in the (online) world. 

Not only used to bring about social change, hashtags have seemingly transformed the business market to the masses through social media, and the traditional way of doing things is on the way out. 

Apart from every business now needing to have a social media presence, using hashtags in a business’ social media practise is imperative. 

In fact, using hashtags is a business in itself. Fifteen years ago, social media content managers/creators were still unheard of, yet today it’s one of the most popular fields to go into for our Generation Z. 

The business of hashtags

As any business looks to grow, they explore new ways to gain exposure. 

Hashtags are no longer considered just a fun, random part of the internet, instead, they’re now a crucial part of many business’ marketing strategies. For example, using hashtags in an online targeted marketing campaign. 

No longer just seen as part of the company’s Marketing Strategy, with today’s modern times there are whole businesses that revolve around just generating and analysing hashtags. 

Task Ant is a prime example of a business that does just that and the business model is based upon a hashtag tool. What this company does is they have created an online system that helps you as the user find the best hashtags for your account. 

Offering hashtag analytics, the service generates over 100 different hashtags, as well as providing statistics of each potential hashtag to grow your following. Helping to build a hashtag strategy and providing data-driven insights, these new types of methods are now an important part of marketing. Task Ant has consistently been chosen as the best hashtag generator by websites like WP Dev Shed.

Hashtags and the news

Without even noticing, hashtags have now become the norm across all major platforms, from Facebook to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. 

Forget newspapers, today people often first hear of news stories through trending hashtags rather than your daily news channels, TV shows and printed media. Studies have shown that more than 50% of Americans regularly get their news from social media. 

However, these social media platforms have played a major role in recent political issues. One only needs to take a look back at both the 2016 and recent 2020 U.S elections as an example to see its influence. 

But these platforms have also been the driving force behind many viral challenges, and changes. Let’s take a look back at some of the most famous trending hashtags.  

Famous Hashtags

1. #MeToo,

First used back in 2006, the hashtag went viral in 2017 to encourage women to speak out about instances of sexual assault. It also helped expose wide-spread sexual harassment and abuse, where most recently huge industry names such as Harvey Weinstein and Keven Spacey were famously exposed for such conduct and involvement. 

2. #BlackLivesMatter

Still one lingering on the fingertips, this is one of the most iconic recent hashtags. We saw the true power of social media as it was used to shed light on systematic racism not only in America but around the world. 

3. #PrayforJapan

Another powerful hashtag that first spread in 2011 after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit the country, it was first used to help bring awareness to the situation. Since then, it has been utilised more than 4 million times. 

4. #IceBucketChallenge

One of the most infamous viral challenges back in 2014, it was originally created to bring awareness to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). In 2014 alone the hashtag was used more than 6 million times. 

5. #SaveAleppo

In 2014, this hashtag was used more than 100,000 times on the first day of hitting the internet, and it was created by activists to spread awareness on the desperate situation taking place in Syria. It helped shed light on what was going on with the entire world.  

From illuminating social issues to driving brand awareness, and even viral challenges, hashtags have changed the world in more ways than one and yes, they’re here to stay it seems. 

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