Since 2007 and the invention of Twitter, hashtags (#) have become synonymous with social media and the rise of the internet. They are used to identify messages of a specific topic and to a newcomer on these platforms, hashtags may seem irritating and a waste of time and effort.

However, if you begin to understand their purpose and learn how to  use them effectively, hashtags can become very powerful tools to help you engage with your audience and increase your brand image simultaneously.

Having these groups of messages available for everyone to see means that if you tap into this style of marketing, you can connect with your audience who will be using and looking at the specific hashtags they are interested in. For example, if you are Apple and you are selling the latest phone, the iPhone 6, using the hashtag #iphone6 means that your posts are now not limited to just your own audience: your published post  is now accessible to all other users interested in similar topics if they search for that hashtag. Choosing the right hashtag can greatly broaden the reach of your social media posts to thousands of potential followers, fans or consumers.

If someone does a search on a social network or on a search engine for a hashtag that you used, your post and your social media page can be found by someone you never would have reached without using those hashtags.  It is a great way of reaching new customers without paying for advertising fees, as you can use hashtags freely on any post via these platforms. Many brands are unaware of how useful they can be and only use a few for specific posts. On Instagram, using all of the 30 hashtags per post is almost mandatory for photographers and businesses in order to reach more customers who are interested in the same type of pictures that you are sharing. Using the right hashtags is also difficult, as you do not want to attract people who are not interested in your products and services. Being specific and relevant to your brand with hashtags is vital on social media, to promote your ideas effectively and encourage new and existing customers to find your posts instantly and easily.