3 Simple Rules to Prevent Hashtag Abuse
Hashtags have become somewhat of a mockery, and for good reason. Follow these 3 simple rules to prevent hashtag abuse.
Every single day, countless numbers of innocent hashtags are inhumanely mistreated and abused. You might think it’s limited to those reckless hoodlum teenagers lurking in the shadows of Instagram, but the troubling truth is that it’s all around us. It could be your boss, neighbors, friends, family... even your mother. No hashtag is safe when it comes to the cruel world of social media and every day the epidemic gets worse. Do your part today to stop the horrible abuse of hashtags and help keep them safe.
In all seriousness though, hashtags have become somewhat of a mockery, and for good reason. Follow these simple rules to prevent hashtag abuse.
Use hashtags to extend the reach of your content to connect information and conversations to a much larger audience. Through their use, you have a huge advantage to extend content beyond your opted-in audience. In reality, hashtags are really just public containers for all content with the same tag. If you tag a post with #digitalmarketing, your post will be placed in the public #digitalmarketing container and shared with everyone searching for that specific tag. This is equally important for content publishers as well as content searchers since publishers want their content included in highly active, highly visible public hashtags while searchers loyally follow hashtags that have great content.
Don’t use hashtags in your personal comments and conversations. Face it, no one is that interested in your #loserexboyfriend or that #soupisyum. Save those for your friends and family.
Use hashtags that are relevant to the content you’re posting and support a deeper conversation. Remember, your hashtagged posts are going to a public forum. Do your homework and research which tags your audience is most likely to connect with or search for. Hashtags that don’t support the content you’re trying to promote aren’t worth using unless you’re also creating a unique campaign around it (but that’s for a completely different discussion). They should be easily understandable and identifiable while adding as much meaning and value to someone else as they did for you.
Whatever you do, avoid the random nonsense of hashtag babbling. You might think you’re witty, inventive or creative, but everyone else thinks you’re annoying. Don’t be that person. You might feel the need to hashtag #every #single #word #you #say, or create ones #ThatMakesYouTheKingOfTheHashtag, but either way these have absolutely no impact to anyone other than you. If you are your only audience, then congratulations. Otherwise, stop it.
Use keyword rich hashtags on your posts to allow for easier searchability. Google+ has already begun indexing hashtags to align keywords with content for search engine results and I would be surprised if Twitter, Facebook and Instagram aren’t heading in that direction as well. Get in the habit now to help your content succeed for the long-term.
Avoid using meaningless words or phrases. Fancy and inventive tags won’t help anyone find your post if they don’t know what to search for. You might be able to get away with it if you already have 500,000 followers, otherwise you might just be creating the best posts no one will ever see.
The lack of understanding of what a hashtag is and how to use them correctly is beginning to overtake social media pages while bordering on ridiculousness. It’s obvious that the list of unwritten rules needs to be finally written to control the madness. What rules would you add to this list?