Hashtags and going viral

For the few still unfamiliar with hashtags, Twitter added the feature in 2007 as a way for users to group their posts with others within the confines of their 140 character post limit. Other social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have since adopted the hashtag, and it’s become an integral part of online culture. As such, there’s no exclusivity with who can or can’t use hashtags, with users ranging from sports fans banding together to post about their team’s latest results, to optimistic social media users aiming to “go viral”.

Often, hashtags are left relatively alone; with small user groups using them to archive a back-catalogue of blog posts or Instagram photos, however occasionally a hashtag will go viral.

So what is going viral?

Going viral refers to the phenomenon of an online post, be it text or other media based, gaining significant momentum and spreading like wildfire all over the internet, and often gaining attention on televised news programs. For the majority posters of the original content, this is the desired outcome, as their post has now gained massive reach with minimal effort input. Often as well, brands will jump onto a rising hashtag to capitalise on its momentum, as was the case with Tesla, GlaxoSmithKline and General Electric jumping on board the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer, which promotes the increase of women in STEM positions.

However, careful planning is required with hashtags, as viral status can be achieved for all the wrong reasons…*




*This hashtag was used to promote Susan Boyle’s album launch a few years back, and the syntax mess up resulted in a viral backfire







5 Comments Add yours

  1. powerful tool hashtags, sometimes its interesting to follow them and seeing them take off, other times they’re forced down your throat by some annoying social media user. Resulting in an unfollow or unlike


  2. This is very true! I think that finding the sweet spot between gaining enough exposure and becoming annoying is very difficult to find, but when executed correctly, the hashtag can be a powerful tool for quick and easy grouping and identification of posts and their content.


  3. Thanks for the post! I actually enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.


  4. sjwil26 says:

    Nice post! I can see how hashtags can be used as a source for marketing as it really calls on brand awareness and in capturing attention. It can also be used as a way to create interest for consumers


  5. michint says:

    Great post! Hashtags are really important to viral campaigns!


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