Stop! Please stop! I’m begging all of you to please stop over-using hashtags! I certainly understand the proper use of the hashtag, and why it can be a useful, valuable tool in social media. The hashtag was invented as a way for Twitter users to categorize their messages, and make topics and events easier to search. But somewhere along the line, the simple hashtag has been corrupted. Rule #1 (that’s NUMBER one) is DON’T OVERUSE. This rule has obviously gone out the window! We’ve all seen many tweets and Google + or Facebook posts where #hashtagged #words #take #up #almost #all #of #the #140 #available #characters!
Please. Don’t hashtag useless, meaningless words! Here’s an example:
#Huzzah? Really? Who’s searching for all things #Huzzah?
So what constitutes useful and intelligent hashtag use? Take a look at TV tonight and you’ll see many. American Idol for example. Posting or searching #AmericanIdol puts you right in the middle of the conversation that’s buzzing about the show. The TV show uses the hashtag to build a community of fans, and the audience uses it to buzz about the show.
Locally, if you want to immerse your business into the conversations happening in your industry or in your community, you can hashtag yourself right into the middle of the action. For example, a local brewer hashtags #IPA, #stout, etc. to attract hopheads. We hashtag brand names, categories and town names into the social media streams of our clients, i.e #bridgeport, #ford, #weightloss. In this example, anyone searching for what’s happening in #bridgeport or at the @TheBijouThetre will come across this tweet:
I’m afraid we’ll never be able to stop #AHashtagAbuse, but we can grin and laugh as #hashtags continue to be overused.
Finally, remember that hashtags must be supported by media promotion to be successfully adopted. As this chart illustrates, organic tweets only go to your followers, so promoting the sharing and adoption of your hashtag is critical.