Hashtags are like perfume—a little goes a long way. Even Jimmy Falon thinks so.  

Legend has it, the hashtag dates all the way back to 2007. It wasn’t until 2009 that microblog site Twitter and macroblog site Tumblr hyperlinked the hashtags, moving them from the realm of something no one really understood, into the world of functioning metatag.

Hashtags started as something like an after-thought, a conversation add-on, or a conclusion. It’s not uncommon to see something like “Hanging out with my buddies, having a cold Original 16 #Friday”. Here the hashtag is being used to tie up the concept in the tweet. An individual might use this to become one of the group of people talking about #Friday, Just like you might follow along with an event using #Superbowl. It’s a way to become a part of something larger. 

Brands use hashtags to get conversations started about campaigns or products. These handy little symbols help bring conversations together in one virtual place and allow people to search the topic. When used properly, the hashtag serves as a built in search and sort tool. But most importantly, they brand other people’s content.

But now it seems like there’s a hashtag for everything. This past weekend half of the Super Bowl ads included hashtags. And that’s where the question lies: when do you need a hashtag, and when can, or should you go without?

Like everything you do, the hashtags you incorporate should complement your brand and should share the same voice. Secondly, it should serve a purpose. If a hashtag will help you sort or help your brand followers search or participate in an offer, deal or conversation, then tag that puppy. But, like all of your marketing efforts, you should always consider the value. Do you think people will actually use the hashtag in turn fulfilling an objective? If the answer is no, then maybe you don’t need it.

To illustrate, brand followers probably wouldn’t use #chocolatebar but they might use something like #eatasnickers. That’s because #eatasnickers directly relates to a campaign that is currently running and if one of their objectives is social mentions, then the hashtag is performing.

Hashtags may come and go, but while they’re around you can make the best of their functionality by relating it back to your plan.

Tweet us @TheBurningBird if you want to chat. We #love this stuff. 

 

Posted by Sam Karikas. Sam is the Senior Writer and Social Media Manager at Phoenix Group.