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Stop the Madness: Quit Overusing the Hashtag

Stop the Madness: Quit Overusing the Hashtag

Attention please… yes you, stop typing. Shift + “3” (#) is no longer in your repertoire of social media keystrokes. The world craze over the “hashtag” has become such an annoyance that Jimmy Fallon made it his mission to embarrass the hashtagger – once with the help of Justin Timberlake and a second time with Jonah Hill. #HatersGonnaHate

The hashtag began in 2007 on Twitter and has since evolved onto almost every social media platform. This has caused nearly every tweet, post, instagram and vine to incorporate one or more hashtags. In a recent study from Socialbakers, overuse of hashtags can actually hurt a company’s brand with most survey respondents stating, “it’s annoying.”

When is it appropriate to use the #hashtag?Hashtag Fingers

Great question. There are a few reasons that come to mind for appropriate “hashing.” First, understand that hashtags do improve searchability. Understanding what consumers are actually searching for, that’s the trick to this. Hashtag words that reflect the contents of the post will generate higher search results.

Next, a hashtag is appropriate when you are releasing a new product or promoting an event. Make sure to choose a hashtag that incorporates the tagline or essence of the project at hand. This will tie everything together and draw interest from potential customers to get involved with the promotion.

Another reason to use a hashtag is for humor to liven up a day. If done correctly, this can go viral on multiple social media platforms rather quickly. Be careful to stay away from offensive or cheesy jokes as this can turn your post from a stud into a dud, regardless of your intention.

While most of these seem like common sense, we all have a friend that is a “chronic hashtagger,” and it simply drives us crazy. The best advice is to look over the post and read it aloud. If it annoys you, it will more than likely annoy everyone else. #HashtagAbuse is real and requires treatment. Use these simple steps to avoid becoming a hashtag pariah.

Hashtag No-Nos

  1. Don’t overuse the #hashtag – maximum of two… no more. Period. I don’t care if you have more things to highlight. Choose wisely and choose two or less.
  2. Keep them short – #NothingIsMoreAnnoyingThanAHashtagThatTakesUpYourEntireScreen
  3. Hashtag Hijacking is a no-no – please don’t use a trending hashtag to promote your own agenda that clearly has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
  4. Use the 20 percent rule – 1 in every 5 posts can be hashtagged. Any more than that (and that still seems high to me) is too many hashtagged posts.

The madness has to stop. Immediately. Our news feeds are flooded with hashtags. Shift + 3… so simple and yet very powerful. Before you decide to hit “enter” and release that post into the world, take a moment. Think before deciding to annoy the rest of the world. #StoptheMadness #HopeYouEnjoyedtheBlog

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