One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear people say “I hate hashtags”. What?! This makes absolutely no sense to me, but as someone studying public relations I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they just don’t know much about them. Every day as I scroll through my Facebook or Twitter feeds, I see so many incorrect usages of hashtags. Many people have no idea how they actually work, and just use them because it’s what everyone else does. However, the use of hashtags can be very beneficial to an organization’s social media campaign.
Despite what many people believe, a hashtag is more than just a silly symbol with random, seemingly meaningless words attached. It enables you to connect with others with similar interests. It allows thousands of people to join in the same conversation. It makes searching for posts that interest you much easier. A lot of the hate that hashtags tend to get simply stems from misinformation or misuse of them. Hashtags are a very important part of social media! There are, however, many ways that hashtags are used wrong and therefore ineffectively. For instance, hashtags that are too long. It’s best to keep them between one and three words; any more and they just become a long jumble that nobody wants to read! Keep them simple, and keep them relevant. For instance, hashtags.org suggests simplifying them, such as using #USElection instead of #USNationalElection. They need to be clear and concise, just as the rest of your tweets are (thus the 140 character limit).
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter, though! They’re all over Instagram, and even Facebook has started using them. They work the same way on all of the popular social media sites; keep them simple and relevant. If you haven’t explored hashtags before, now’s the time to start! Don’t just read through those tweets, click on the hashtags and see what everyone else is talking about. Start using them when you’re watching the season finale of your favorite television show. Use them as an addition to your tweets about the State of the Union address! You’ll start to see that hashtags are a lot more useful than they may seem.