Hashtags: Once called “sharp” in music and “number sign” or “pound sign” on a telephone, they are now the precursor to a search term on social media.
“What a fantastic idea!” we all said when Twitter piloted this concept. Then multiple other social networks jumped on board, from Google+ to Instagram and finally … far too late … Facebook.
Hashtags are needed in order to organize, to search and to enter into relevant conversations. Twitter is where you see them used best, especially when you look to live TV. Want to comment and share moments with other fans of a show? Just add the hashtag on your TV screen to your tweet, and BOOM!, you are in business. ABC does a great job of this, and one of my favorite examples is this season of “Once Upon a Time.”
Why hashtags are #awesome:
They allow you to create an easy way to insert yourself into a conversation happening on a network, or to create your own conversation. Individuals to brands can and do capitalize on this, not that they all do it well.
For example, say you want to keep all your messages about one subject together? Use the same hashtag on all those messages. If you want to see if other people are talking about your subject, you can do a search to see what the conversations are and add the appropriate hashtag to inject yourself into that subject. Another use can be for identifying an online event – to announce how to get in the conversation you are having digitally.
All in all, good things.
Why hashtags #suck:
In a word: teenagers. Yes, I blame the teenagers. They have made hashtags a nightmare, and now we are all joining in. Hashtags are now abused by many, where you aren’t even able to see the sentence through the hashtags.
There MUST be a line drawn. Do not let yourself get sucked into over-hashtagging. This can make your message cluttered, which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to do when adding a hashtag.
Stop the abuse.
Be smart about choosing your hashtag(s), and just use your best judgement.
If you need help determining the conversations you want to insert yourself in, Raidious can help.