Social media marketing is filled with rules and tips that promise to do great things for your marketing campaign. One of the most highly over-used items is hashtags, so it begs the question: do they really matter? The short answer is yes. If used correctly, it can help you to tap into new markets. If used incorrectly, it can get you kicked off of Twitter. This means you need to know the dos and don’ts with the hashtags.
One of the most comedic skits with the hashtags was done with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake where they had an entire conversation using the word “hashtag” after almost every sentence or word. If you have ever read someone’s Facebook or Twitter post that overuses the hashtag, you will find this video funny.
It’s not Just for Twitter
While some of the top Twitter tips involve using hashtags when you want to create a subject for your tweet, the use has carried over into other social media sites as well. You can now use a hashtag inside of Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and some of the others.
The problem is when people try to be cute with their standard posts. They use it more as a thought bubble than anything else. However, the true reason to use a hashtag is for purposes of cataloging the post so that it can be found easily.
If you are writing a post or tweet about social media and you are providing a tip, you may want to use a hashtag such as #SEOtip or #marketing. When someone wants to find SEO tips or posts on marketing, they may use the same hashtag. Everyone who has used the same hashtag will then show up in the results. It’s a simple way of making sure you are grouping your post to where it belongs.
It’s a lot like using meta keywords when you post a message to your blog. The only difference is that there is a pound sign in front of it and all of the words have to be run together.
Knowing the Rules
When you are using the hashtag in Facebook, there are no rules. You can use it as much as you want, though it needs to be done so that you are actually grouping your hashtag to a specific category or making it easier for people to know what it is that you are talking about.
As for Twitter, you have to be a little more cautious about your hashtags as this is common tweeting language. There are trending topics in Twitter on a regular basis. If you were to use a trending topic’s hashtag in your tweet and there is no correlation between the two, it is cause for your Twitter account to be suspended.
So, for example, you decide to promote your SEO website and find Jimmy Fallon’s #stupidinjury topic trending, you cannot talk SEO shop talk and then close it with that hashtag. If you do, it’s likely that the next time you log in, you will see a large banner across your page that says your account has been suspended. This will require a long-drawn out process where you have to email Twitter and explain yourself to get your account reinstated.
Use Hashtags, but Use them Correctly
Hashtags can be a great way to make sure your posts stand out. Sometimes it is a matter of coming up with a creative hashtag that people want to use again. Sometimes it is making sure you choose a common hashtag so that your material is automatically linked with others’ material. In other instances, you may want to create a hashtag so that other people can post things to you and you can use it to find them.
If you are going to use them, you have to use them correctly. It’s not hard to get your account banned on Twitter and more than one person has found out the hard way.
Once you learn more about hashtags and categorizing your content, you can share the hashtag love on Twitter, Facebook, and throughout other social media platforms. Just don’t be one of those people that use it on everything, otherwise your followers are going to get annoyed.