How Hashtag Overkill is Killing Your Content
Written by: Scott Baradell
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen hashtags on Twitter and various other social media outlets. As the hashtag has gained popularity, it has become clear that some people clearly do not understand the proper usage. Let me take a moment before I rant about this #idiotic #usage to go into a little #hashtaghistory.
What is a hashtag?
A #hashtag is a metadata tag. Essentially, a hashtag is a keyword assigned to a piece of information that helps describe the item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. As an example, if you made a tweet about snow on Christmas morning, you might #hashtag your post with #WhiteChristmas.
The first widespread, high-profile use of the #hashtag function was in 2007, when a San Diego resident named Nate Ritter began to tag his posts with #sandiegofire as he tweeted about the disaster as it was happening. In 2009, Twitter began to recognize and hyperlink hashtags. Now, hashtags are counted to determine the Trending Topics on the Twitter home page. Some hashtags happen organically, but hashtags can also be promoted as a marketing tactic for businesses mobil casino to group related content.
What is a #hashtag good for?
#Hashtags work both for general and specific topics. The more specific the hashtag, the less likely it will be to become a trending topic on Twitter. There’s a big difference between #smartphone and #SamsungGalaxy4.
Hashtags become great for marketers when they want to be able to gather all tweets related to concerts, events, and conferences (#sxsw). They’ve also been effective for disasters and current news events (#Sandy). Many use hashtags for recall (#todo).
Tips for Hashtag usage
- Don’t duplicate hashtags. Even if your organization is the North American Skiing Association, promoting the hashtag #NASA is not a good idea.
- Consider misinterpretations. McDonald’s promoted a hashtag, #McDStories, to encourage customers to share their positive experiences with McDonald’s. It was a great idea. Until the number of positive #McDStories was overshadowed by negative stories, unhappy customers, or those who had ethical disagreements with McDonald’s business practices. It is important to consider both good and bad potential results when you promote a hashtag.
- Use hashtags in other marketing channels. It’s hard to learn anything from analyzing your hashtag if no one is using it. Therefore, it is important to promote the hashtag in other marketing channels, whether it be print, outdoor, television, promotional items, or any other written copy.
- Don’t overuse thashtags #It #Is #So #Annoying #When #People #Go #Hashtag #Crazy. It’s also pointless. Twitter actually recommends no more than 2 hashtags per post. And they should know – they’re experts.