When I began to notice friends’ Facebook posts ending in wacko stuff like #husbandsjustdontunderstand #lovemyhouse #hatemylife I closed my eyes and my ears. I most certainly did NOT want to know what new thing they were all coming up with, nor did I wish to find out I would need to use them. So, like an ostrich, I buried my head in the internet sand and happily lived without using one… single… hashtag… ever!
What’s nice, is that I was in good company. Plenty of us older twenty-somethings/younger thirty somethings, i.e., the dinosaurs of this new technological age, have had it with new weird things we “have” to do. Facebook, sure. Twitter, sure. Add in Google+ and LinkdIn, umm, oookay, if we have to. Throw hashtags into everything? I give up, man! I can barely figure out how to call someone on my dumb smartphone, let alone put hashtags on the end of my tweets and posts. As if I needed one more thing to do!
Part of the reason I didn’t want to use them at all ever, was that I didn’t understand their purpose. Gibberish, that’s what they were. And then I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could find all of the random posts I’ve ever posted everywhere? Too bad there isn’t a way to tag them all so I can find them on Google.” Oh wait. Someone has already figured it out. And those are the dreaded hashtags.
Of course, it’s also a way to share similar content with hashtag groupies. If people like stupid pictures of popped balloons, there’s a hashtag for it. If there isn’t, you can make one right now. #stupidpicturesofpoppedballoons There! It exists! And everyone can start tagging their pictures of popped balloons with it. It’s a really cool organizational tool (I know I date myself whenever I say cool. Sorry. I used to be cool).
Now, the juicy part. How do these things work from a business angle? There are analytics, strategies, do’s and don’ts. How can you make hashtags work for you? After reading a ton of stuff about hashtags, here is what I took away for myself:
- Although you can put a hashtag on anything you want, they are only really effective via Twitter (highest), Instagram, and Google+. LinkedIn didn’t really like them. What about Facebook? Studies keep showing that interaction drops out when Facebook users add in hashtags (perhaps it’s a symptom of tech dinosaurs). Other social media users haven’t really caught up, so if you’re sticking with mainstream, there you go.
- Limit yourself to TWO hashtags. Analysts show the level of engagement is highest when there are two, count’em, two. Not so much at one, and then hashtag overload past two.
- Make one of your hashtags your brand and another one something trendy.
That is as simple as I can make it for my brain-on-four-kids. If I can figure it out, so can you!
I like to leave my readers with a laugh. In case I’m not the only one who didn’t see this until yesterday, this video clip is pretty funny. Note: bad word bleeped out at the end.
Have fun playing with hashtags. Signing off.