Hashtags are just simple words or short phrases with the '#' symbol placed in front of them. The '#' makes the word into a hashtag, and then adds your content to a group of other content within the same hashtag, to help other users find the content that they are looking for.
In other words, if you're looking to vastly increase your engagement through the use of social media platforms, hashtags are your number one weapon!
Anyway, down to business...
There are many rumours going around that Twitter created the hashtag but that is far from the truth. The first ever hashtag used was done so by a man named Chris Messina. Messina is a social technology expert who is said to have created and used the first ever hashtag on the social site you should be familiar with, Twitter.
He first posted the hashtag in 2007 to go along with his Tweet '?how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]??' Messina deliberately placed the '#' in front of the word 'barcamp' in hopes to help gather discussions and online exchanges regarding 'Barcamp'. Barcamp for those who were wondering is a technology unconference gathering activity that spans worldwide!
Since 2007 and with a little help from Messina's creation, hashtags have spread worldwide and created a boom in the marketing world!
Today, new hashtags are being created left right and centre by other marketers, major companies and educators to help bring in more engagement and followers to their brand and organisation.
With today's technology, there are a lot a lot of tools out there such as Moz and KWFinder, that will help you track and monitor your chosen hashtags and keywords!
All in all, with the use of hashtags, your business/organisation can grow further with their help other than without them, and the best part, is they're free!