Recently, the local CBS affiliate WFMY News 2, interviewed me about what hashtags would be big this year. I pointed out that jumping on the ‘hot’ hashtags may seem like the right thing to do, but more often than not, your message will get lost in the noise of everyone else hoping to get heard or smarmy marketers peddling things not even related to the hashtags they are hijacking.
Though this interview was mainly focused on Twitter – hashtags are used on social networks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vine and Pinterest and I wanted to give a little more detail and clear a few things up.
Wondering what the hell a hashtag is? Well, the easiest way to explain it is this; with a hashtag you can create, find, and join in online conversations using social networking sites that support hashtags. Whether you create your own unique hashtag, use an existing one or are simply focusing on keywords in your social updates, hashtags play a huge role in sorting and spreading information. From social events to community causes, hashtags help users searching or creating information related to specific topics, industries, locations, webinars, keywords, events, products, protests, conferences, T.V. shows and newscasts, movies, political events, chats . . . you get the idea now?
Examples of hashtags:
Location based hashtags: #NOLA, #TriadNC, #GSOnc, #Chi, #GSO, #DGSO
Evergreen examples of conference hashtags: #SXSW, #SocialFresh, #SMMWorld, #userconf
keywords based on industry: #SoMe, #PR, #FinancialAdvisors, #HR
T.V. show hashtags: #WalkingDead, #ParksandRec, #Scandal
Twitter chat hashtags: #MobileChat, #MediaChat
There are many more hashtag examples (both good and bad) out there.
Here are a few great posts you may find helpful:
- Why Industry Hashtags #FAIL
- When Good Hashtags Go Bad
- Hashtags Gone Wrong: 6 Examples of Unfortunate Hashtag Choices
- 8 Hijacked Hashtags Gone Horribly Wrong (or Right)
- 13 Epic Twitter Fails By Big Brands
- The 7 Types of Hashtag Abusers
- The Anatomy of a Branded Hashtag Hijacking
- Hashtag hijacks: When corporate PR and social media staff get Twitter all wrong
- Hashtag Hijacks: When Twitter Bites Back
- Are You Writing Your Hashtags Correctly?
- Do You Use Spaces When You Hashtag a Phrase?
Do’s and don’ts for using hashtags:
Do be brief – with the ideal tweet consisting of only 100 characters, you don’t want to use them all up with a painfully long hashtag that will be difficult to remember or leave no room for a link or photo.
Do be relevant and research! research! research! – when creating hashtags make sure you’ve done your research before implementing that new hashtag as part of your social media campaign. Seriously. . . search. Also – be careful if you see a product of yours trending on twitter – it may not be what you think.
Do be specific – not only can being specific help your hashtag, so too can using capitalization. How you ask? Well, I’ll share an example from Sabotage Times from a post Chris wrote on the funniest hashtag hash ups : #hobbitch vs. #hobbitCH. You see how that helps? Now, it’s still the same search – but visually the reader isn’t as likely to get confused.
Don’t use too many – seriously don’t make every word a hashtag and don’t add fifty hashtags to your next post . . . no one likes a #hashtagdouchebag
Don’t hijack – Just because you see a trending hashtag doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to start shoveling your sales message. Seriously stop that shit.
Don’t use spaces – do we really need to go over this? It’s 2015. Don’t use spaces or else it will break the link.
How do you recommend using hashtags?