Have Hashtags Become Irrelevant for Marketers?


Social Media Week

Hashtags were born out of a technological solution to categorizing messages and content. Over time, especially on Twitter and Instagram, hashtags became a regular part of our language and culture. But now, hashtags might have zero value compared to yesterday, and marketers are realizing this possibility.

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From the transition of print media to digital, marketers seem to always be constantly adapting to change. With the huge upswing in social media across all walks of life, marketers once again had to evolve in order to best engage their target audience. Eventually, they discovered that placing a pound sign (#) in front of a relevant keyword would make their Tweet stand out among the crowd and unite other like-minded users.

However, as the usage of what became known as a “hashtag” became more widespread among common users, its main purpose became diluted through misuse to the point where there’s speculation that its usefulness is coming to an end.

The Hashtag Pizza Pie Is Going Stale

In the past, marketers would create a hashtag to accompany Tweets regarding their particular product or service, which many Twitter bots and fake accounts would ReTweet. However, after Twitter made changes to their “Terms of Service,” many bots were shut down, and even then, that didn’t stop some marketers from making serious blunders after their demise.

One example of these fails include DiGiorno Pizza’s #WhyIStayed tweet, which attempted to hijack a hashtag that was created for victims of domestic violence to share their horrific stories. Even though DiGiorno’s attempted to make it right by personally apologizing, it showed the terrible ramifications of not conducting adequate research before attempting to use an established hashtag.

With changes to hashtags, and problems like the one from DiGiorno’s, it’s easy to imagine that many users may have started to tune them out completely. Even Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon took shots at hashtag abuse during a skit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. So what should the next great era of mar they will need to adapt to in order to best engage their target audience?

Strong Content Creation Still Rules

One aspect of social media and marketing that holds true is valuable content creation. Where businesses used to run a newspaper advertisement hoping that someone would find it engaging, many companies are now embracing content as the ultimate way to highlight their product, service or company. This trend will only increase as time goes on.

High quality content creation isn’t an activity strictly reserved for a company with a huge marketing budget. Many small companies can participate on an equal level with multi-million dollar corporations, and are only made more relevant through consistent and superb content. Regardless of budget, quality content creation will draw more engagement and shares far more than a promoted hashtag will.

Unique, Relevant, and Engaging

Coca-Cola, whose Facebook Page has more than 93 million Likes, engages fans with animated GIFs, live videos, and other highly visual forms of content. They draw attention to various campaigns that promote human interests, such as music, sports, and travel. Coca-Cola throws themselves into the conversation of major, global events, such as The World Cup. For businesses with a smaller audience, it’s still relevant to enter yourself into larger conversations using your brand’s voice, assets, and expertise.

The Challenge Existing Among All Of Us

The pressure is on for all brands of all sizes to create amazing content. We are always reading news, sharing stories, and consuming content online, and it doesn’t look like that process will end anytime soon. This means your company should be creating valuable and entertaining content for your customers, and to reach new ones. Marketers, if you’re looking to develop a content strategy, it’s worth your time to think about why someone will want to read this article, or watch this video, instead of asking yourself, what hashtag is catchy enough to get people to Tweet on behalf of your business? Essentially, no hashtag will be the answer to that question, especially if your content looks #something #like #this.



Robert Conrad

Mentor, Juvenile Court Services



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