HBD #Hashtag! What Brands Can Learn From A Decade Of Hashtagging


Social Media Week

Join in on the birthday celebrations and check out the 24-hour custom emoji Twitter created for the special day by tweeting #Hashtag10.

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It’s hard to fathom we’ve been using hashtags for ten years today. (#timeflies)

The feature that put Twitter on the map was born when entrepreneur Chris Messina posted a tweet on Aug. 23, 2007, asking, “How do you feel about using # (pound for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

Despite that the idea was initially met with skepticism by Twitter’s early founders, the symbol would rapidly evolve, becoming a dominating part of the Twitter experience and soon finding a place within many other of our beloved social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Despite cementing a place in the cultural lexicon, hashtags also serve a practical function, helping us to organize conversations and content around deliberate topics.

Twitter says that its 328 million users generate 125 million hashtags every single day. And while some hashtags never make it to primetime, others—like #throwbackthursday or #tbt—have become core to our digital experiences. TV shows, award shows and sporting events have also benefitted from the hashtag’s functionality as they have, in turn, boosted the number of people using hashtags to get in on the conversation.

Following entertainment and culture, marketers weren’t far behind the hashtag craze, and today, brands use hashtags as a means for drumming up conversations around a campaign, partnership, or single piece of content. Always’ #LikeAGirl hashtag comes to mind, which supported the award-winning female empowerment campaign of the same name.

To commemorate ten years of hashtagging, here are five best practices for incorporating hashtags into your marketing strategy:

Be unique

If you aren’t sure whether or not someone has already come up with a hashtag you have in mind, check out Hashtags.org. As a best practice, have a backup idea or two in mind so you don’t have to go back to the drawing board if your top pick is taken.

Beware of “bashtags”

It may sound tedious, but take the time to give some thought around the context with which your hashtag can be used. You wouldn’t want to end up like one these case studies where a simple idea for a hashtag went very wrong when users used it in a context unintended by the brand.

Punctuate appropriately

In the grand scheme of things a tiny detail like a capital letter doesn’t seem like much, but when it comes to hashtags it can make all of the difference in terms of clarity.

The shorter the better

The more concise you can be with your hashtag, the more wiggle room your audience members will have to incorporate their own voice. Not to mention, there is much more of a likelihood your hashtag will be memorable if it isn’t a novel.

Trends aren’t everything

Though it’s always great to be “on trend,” if it isn’t appropriate or consistent with your brand, you shouldn’t force a connection via a hashtag when there isn’t one. As a simple rule of thumb, steer clear of hashtags that tie to sensitive current events and news stories.

#HBD #hashtag!

Cover photo via Soldsie

 

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SMW Staff

SMW News, Social Media Week

@socialmediaweek

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