Hashtags became a household term shortly after Twitter debuted their use in 2007. Since then, the hashtag phenomenon continued to evolve and take over other popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
This year’s Super Bowl stirred up some great conversation in the marketing world – what happened to all of the hashtags? After careful review of this year’s much-anticipated commercials, only 30% of brands used a hashtag, a 27% drop from last year’s ads. What does that mean for the hashtag? Is it dying?
Simply put, the answer is yes. And it’s not because our consumers don’t use them or they don’t work. It’s because brands and businesses don’t use them the right way. Hashtags are a valuable tool to increase your online awareness and grow your brand. Here are six common mistakes businesses make in the hashtag marketing strategy.
- Hashtag their brand name. The purpose of creating a hashtag is to grow your online brand awareness. Posts and tweets that use hashtags are easily searchable, and if you use a popular hashtag, your posts show up in the trending feed. Only using a brand name hashtag doesn’t help you with either of these. Potential customers don’t go on social media and search for your brand name because the majority don’t know you exist! To make your hashtag worthwhile, it needs to include the keywords they use. To figure that out, answer these questions: What do you solve for your customers? What type of product do you offer? Why are you better than your competition?
- Broken hashtags. This mistake is for the grammar nerds. Don’t put spaces between words when using a hashtag. The hashtag will only recognize the first word and depending on what that is; it can be detrimental to your brand. #TheRightWaytoHashtag and #The Wrong Way to Hashtag.
- Not researching the hashtag. Check to see if anyone else uses a hashtag before you claim it. Why is this important? First, you want to make sure nothing is being posted that is harmful to your image. Second, unique hashtags hold more trending power than those already in use on Twitter.
- Using too many hashtags. We see them every day. Posts that have five, six, ten hashtags in them. Too many hashtags look like spam to social media users. They are more likely to scroll by and ignore your message. Limit your hashtags to make your message stand out and get noticed.
- Not Planning ahead. After you decided on a hashtag, ask someone else to review it. Is there any way it can be used against you? If you need some examples of what not to do, you can find those here.
- Using hashtags unrelated. Make sure the hashtags you use make sense! Don’t use hashtags just because they are currently trending unless your post is on point with the topic. Your audience won’t appreciate it, and it won’t score you any brownie points with those that see it.
Hashtag use is declining with brands, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still hold value. Create a hashtag marketing plan that works for your business. Make sure you aren’t guilty of one of these six mistakes.