People, we're in the middle of a hashtag epidemic and we have to put a stop to it. The use of hashtags has gone way beyond any reasonable scale, and what was once a handy tool is in danger of being horribly diluted. In this post, I'll look at the history of the hashtag, the issues the humble hashtag is currently facing and how they should be used.
The hashtag is already dominating mobile conversations, boosting the power of the Tweet, and enabling social media users to search and connect social conversations as never before. More than 70% of mobile users use hashtags, and a tweet is 50% more likely to be re-tweeted if it contains a hashtag.
You really, really don’t want to be that guy who jumps in on a Twitter hashtag that has absolutely nothing to do with his message. If you want to join in on an existing hashtag, make sure what your about to say is relevant and will engage people.
Hashtags are now able to help machines understand what is trending, who is liking the trending topic, when it is trending, where it is trending and not far off…why! And because of the trend for using hashtags to give emotional or humorous context to posts, they can also help machines understand and process people´s feelings.
It doesn’t take that many people to steal a hashtag. A dozen or so independent tweeters pushing an alternative message on someone else’s campaign hashtag can dramatically shift the sentiment of a conversation in a matter of minutes. A sustained effort can effectively deny a campaign of its ability to use its hashtag to promote its message.
With the recent release of Twitter’s #Music app and Facebook’s latest redesign that boasts a music feed, social media entities are aggressively charging full speed ahead in their quest to become the preeminent discovery platform for new music. This presents artists big and small with a treasure-trove of opportunities to go viral, collect new fans and followers, and keep them engaged. It also makes social media literacy an absolute imperative.
Twitter processes 350 billion+ tweets daily. Talk about a noisy marketplace! For marketers who want results from their tweets, it comes down to carefully choosing the most potent hashtags. Want to try creating your own hashtag? Getting it going isn’t difficult, but does take some finesse.
No matter how lofty a brand’s goals are when it uses hashtags, there are always individuals ready to use them to drag it into the gutter. McDonald’s is on its second go-round with promoted hashtags gone awry, this time with #UnwrapWhatsFresh.