Hashtag – (on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or short phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to find and identify messages on a specific topic.
Hash-hole – an internet user found on social media sites who #type #like #this #plus #more.
Most of the things that happen around the world can be found online in a matter of seconds and with an average of 58 million tweets a day, Twitter is my go-to place to find any news, trends, entertainment, sports and other updates that I think are important. Why is it my go-to place? Because I can quickly and easily find tweets based on the specific hashtags I search up. Hashtags enable conversations, segmentation, organization and analysis.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well I ask myself, frequently, why I see brands using hashtags all wrong! Hashtags need to be used when appropriate. They need to be strategically thought out which will benefit your brand with key audiences and generate a positive outcome. Here are some “Dos and Don’ts” of hashtags.
1. #Dont #Use #Too #Many #Hashtags
This is one of my pet peeves and just talking about it makes me cringe. Not only does this look messy and unorganized, but this is stupidity, well at least in my eyes. Brands think of every possible combination of keywords that users may type into a search engine, and attach all of them to their messages. Do users really search “#Use or #Many”? NO!
2. Don’t be a Newsjacker!
Newsjacking occurs when a brand or individual tries to steal top trending hashtags on Twitter or other platforms, by attaching their brand message to it. This is considered a horrible attempt at promoting your brand with irrelevant audiences and can generate VERY negative buzz around your brand. Remember that tweet coming from the LA Lakers? They used the hashtag #NeverForget (honouring 9/11) to bring attention to never forget about Kobe Bryant. Thats just sickening!
3. Don’t Publish Without Review
Proof read your hashtags and make sure that it does not read in any other form. For example, remember #susanalbumparty, which is supposed to read “Susan Album Party?” What about #nowthatcherisdead that started out as a tribute to Margaret Thatcher but had people reading, “Now that Cher is dead.”
1. Do Keep it #Simple
Get to the point with your hashtags. Keeping it simple helps others join in on the conversation. For example, #DIY is a popular hashtag focusing on “Do It Yourself” projects. This is extremely effective in generating conversation and engagement. Keeping it simple also includes only using 1-2 hashtags per post. Any more than that looks like your trying too hard and spammy.
2. Do Your #Research!
Research the hashtags that you or your brand has in mind to tell your story. Make sure it’s unique and relevant to your brand! Read the hashtag in all uppercase, lowercase and combination of both to ensure your meaning won’t be lost. Keep in mind that another brand may be using that hashtag too – don’t get caught up in someone else’s strategies!
#3. Make it #Relevant!
When planning your hashtag strategy, it should be unique and should reflect your brand. Consider shortening your tagline or company name or even a product into a hashtag that would be easily shareable. Be consistent with it to allow your audience to follow.
Executing your hashtag strategy could be difficult at times – when should you use it and how? But there are many tips and tricks, like this blog post I wrote, to help you with that. Do you have favourite hashtags to share? Can you offer any other tips on hashtags? Don’t be shy – leave a comment below 🙂