I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen this symbol everywhere, and when I mean everywhere, I mean #EVERYWHERE. This symbol is commonly used (if not overused) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr… the list goes on.
Now what exactly is it?
So there it is. Now, I know you’re thinking : “I already knew what it was”. But what I want to know is,
Do you know how to properly use it?
You see, speaking from personal experience, I honestly did not know how to use hashtags. I was misusing, if not abusing, hashtags all over my social media like Instagram and Twitter. And I think its safe to say I wasn’t the only one. Not only did regular people like me not know how to correctly use hashtags, but so did businesses.
One great example was a hashtag blunder by Susan Boyle’s PR team. They were trying to promote her album party in 2012 and thought a hashtag would totally get this topic trending. And they were right… but not for the right reasons. They had a brilliant idea to use the hashtag #susanalbumparty. (do you see what I see?)
Another great example was by our best friend, McDonald’s. They had started the hashtag #McDStories as they wanted to start a trend of consumers sharing their positive experiences with Maccas. However, this too did not go to plan.
Because businesses have made such major mistakes on using hashtags, it got me thinking what are the #do’s and #don’ts of using hashtags. Let’s go.
🙂 Keep it sweet and simple.
🙂 Make it punny if possible (we all love a good pun)
🙂 Make sure it’s right to the point and is meaningful
🙂 Make it original
😦 #Nevermakealonghashtag #Nobodyeverhasthetimetoreadit
😦 #Don’t #Overuse #Too #Many #Hashtags #At #Once
😦 Don’t word it such a way that it could mean something else
When marketers correctly use hashtags, it can lead to something so big that they did not even expect it. It could lead to a worldwide trending topic and maybe a drastic increase in brand awareness. The hashtag can also spark online conversation between fellow consumers. But at the same time, if marketers were to misuse hashtags, it could bring about backlash and ridicule from customers. Thus, although hashtags seem to be such an easy thing to use, it requires quite an effort to make sure it will serve its purpose. It’s all about designing a hashtag that is short and simple to read but is right to the point.
Lastly, I just wanted to leave you with this funny video by Jimmy Fallon with Justin Timberlake that I think best represents our habit of overusing of hashtags. Enjoy!
#Comment your thoughts of how businesses use hashtags!