#thisisnotwhatahashtagshoudlooklike. It’s frustrating being a social media marketer and scrolling through my personal newsfeed seeing hashtags used improperly.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Despite the popular rumor, Twitter did not invent the Hashtag. Hashtags started in the late 1990s where it was used to categorize items into groups on Internet Relay Chat. However, Twitter did make Hashtags popular when Chris Messina became the first person to use the hashtag on Twitter. He asked his followers how they felt about using the pound sign to group conversations together in 2007.
The rest is history. Twitter adopted the Hashtag and other social media platforms followed suit.
Let’s talk about Twitter. Tweets that contain hashtags receive two times more engagement than tweets without a hashtag. And tweets that contain two Hashtags have a 21% higher engagement rate. So, obviously Hashtags are important. But this is where it gets tricky. A tip for all my Hashtag-happy friends: there’s a 17% decrease in engagement when tweets include more than two Hashtags. You have to know where the line is, and know not to cross it.
Another big no-no with Hashtags: using more than three words. #NYpizza is great. #IloveNYpizzasomuch is obnoxious. Tell your followers and friends what you want to say and use the Hashtags as a grouping method. After all, that’s why Hashtags were started by Chris. There is also no benefit to #hashting #every #single #word. See how annoying that was?
Now that you know some basic etiquette for Hashtag use, try using it in your next marketing campaign. Hashtags have become popular with brands and their advertising efforts (remember Travelocity’s #IWannaGo campaign?). When creating a Hashtag for your next campaign research what your audience is already talking about and create a unique Hashtag that is relevant and appropriate. Keep it short and simple and but brand specific. This will make it easier to remember and spell for your customers.
Your business can try a campaign Hashtag, #IWannaGo, which is typically used for promotional giveaways or an incentive to want to use the Hashtag, or a brand Hashtag #HaveABreak. A brand Hashtag should be kept consistent on all social media platforms and for a longer period of time.
Kit Kat’s #HaveABreak Hashtag is brand specific (their tagline), unique and simple. Kit Kat uses it across all social media platforms, allowing their consumers to engage with the Kit Kat community online, in turn, generating free buzz.
So, just remember, keep it simple, relevant and don’t overuse Hashtags, and you’ll be just fine.