Have #JumpedTheShark?

Posted by Gina Pappas on October 4, 2013 |

With nearly 15 million views on YouTube, chances are you’ve seen the hilarious video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake that illustrates just how silly hashtags would sound in regular conversation. And as you watched the video, you probably nodded along; we’re all familiar with those individuals and brands that hashtag every.single.thing.

With the recent heat on hashtags — even Subway is taking a jab in one of its recent commercials, and Facebook hashtags are proving to be a bust – the topic of hashtag fatigue should be considered by both individuals and businesses who work to maintain an active social media presence.

A few of my pet peeves? Using terms that have no search value, for one. While using your brand’s slogan or catch-phrase might seem like a wise strategy, consider whether or not someone in your target audience is actually going to search for that term. If not, come up with something that speaks to the product or service you offer, and consider including a hashtag of your location, especially if you’re a small, local business.

Secondly, don’t overdo it: You don’t need to include a hashtag in every post. Keep the hashtag appropriate for the content within the rest of the post; make it relevant. Otherwise, users may start ignoring your content if they think the point of every message is designed to be used for search.

My personal favorite use of hashtags is during a live event. Whether it’s a conference, sporting event or TV show, searching the hashtag during the event makes the virtual world feel a little more personal by binding together participants through one another’s posts.

A smart use of a hashtag for businesses? Create one specific to an event you’re hosting, and tweet teasers, reminders and details to attendees. And don’t limit your hashtags to Facebook or Twitter! Create an Instagram account and post snapshots of event preparations, along with an event-specific hashtag. Or, take advantage of Google’s recent implementation of Google+ hashtags into web searches.

With intelligent use of hashtags – both personally and professionally – you can position yourself as a savvy social media user, as opposed to someone whose hashtags are likely to end up in the next JT and JF spoof.





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