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The Epidemic of Misused Hashtags

There has been a growth in what used to be simply known as a pound sign, the hashtag, what it is more commonly known as today, has become a relevant hyperlink that can connect like-minded people when used repeatedly. Unfortunately, some people misuse hashtags in a business sense and this is becoming more common, so much so, that some businesses will arguably state that hashtags are useless.

First we must look at its growth. A hashtag, made its popular debut on Twitter, moving onto Instagram, Google Plus and all the while an outcry occurred for hashtags to be implemented onto the Facebook platform. For those who argue that hashtags are useless we must first ponder why they have been added to these popular social networks and what the value of them must have been.

The purpose of a hashtag is to allow you as a business to add the “pound sign” in front of a word or a string of words without any spaces. This then hyperlinks the word(s) so once clicked it will direct them to a spot where other people who have used that same hashtag with relevant social postings.

What many businesses fail to do is their homework about a hashtag and this is when an epidemic of misused hashtags starts and snowballs into becoming useless.  The first tip in making hashtags work in your favor is to find hashtags that are relatable to your business.

This might be an easier process if you look at hashtags as “keywords” from an SEO standpoint, since that is something you are most likely already used to understanding. Thinking this way can help you think of words that would be relevant for your business. However, just think this way, be cautious to the amount of hashtags you are using, one to two at the most and try to work them into your social writing.

Once you have accumulated a few hashtags, test them. See if others are using the same hashtags too, if so, you have found winners. If not, do not be the first, this process is too long and you need value and an ROI on using hashtags immediately.

The more important factor of a hashtag for your business is that they are being added into search results within Google, Bing and of course, social networks such as G+, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Hashtags are certainly not useless; it is all about how they are used that will bring them value for your business. Knowing how to properly add them into your social marketing strategy will make them of use to you, it just takes a few minutes of research to see which words will benefit you, and applying hashtags will not only help your social connectors in finding other like-minded content but it too will help social connectors find your business.

Don’t be a part of the epidemic of misused hashtags, instead, use them to your advantage as they are clearly yet another form of how social media and search are intertwining further and your business need not be left behind.


+Erin Ryan is the Director of Social Media for Wikimotive and a writer for various Social Media & Tech blogs. Erin has a keen understanding of the power of Social Media for business and fervently stays up-to-date.

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Tags: hashtags, hashtags for business, how to use a hashtag, misused hashtags, using hashtags properly


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