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#DropTheHashtag

Drop the Hashtag

Fellow communications professionals, it’s time to say a long overdue farewell to the hashtag. We’ve had a good run, but if we’re being honest this relationship should have ended a long time ago. There are exactly two valid reasons to use a hashtag: 1) to join a trending conversation about a timely and relevant topic, and 2) to give event ...

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#DropTheHashtag

Drop the Hashtag

Fellow communications professionals, it’s time to say a long overdue farewell to the hashtag. We’ve had a good run, but if we’re being honest this relationship should have ended a long time ago.

There are exactly two valid reasons to use a hashtag: 1) to join a trending conversation about a timely and relevant topic, and 2) to give event attendees a chance to coalesce in a digital forum to share resources and network with one another.

If your organization is investing in a Twitter strategy it’s likely that your primary goal is to tease content that will drive clicks back to your website. The less links that you give users to click on the better. News organizations like the Washington Post do a great job of this. Check out their Twitter feed. Nary a hashtag in sight. Just a short tweet followed by a link to the full article.

If you have the resources to promote your Twitter content via a paid strategy, then you definitely need to drop the hashtags. A general sponsored tweet campaign is going to charge you for every click on your tweet, whether that’s your website link or the random hashtag you wanted to use in an attempt to increase the reach of your content (which you’re already doing to great effect by sponsoring it). Objective-based campaigns are preferable as you only pay for the action you want, like a website click or email signup, but these aren’t yet an option for large campaigns that are invoice billed rather than charged to a credit card.

And now, a cautionary note. If you’re consistently using a unique hashtag related to your organization, your competitors will take note. Brands can easily and cost effectively target sponsored tweets to their competitors’ hashtags. This means that if Twitter users are searching for your hashtag or using it in their own tweets they’re going to start seeing sponsored content from your competitor. Burger King is targeting Taco Bell’s #BreakfastDefector. Surge (a Coca-Cola product) is targeting #PepsiChallenge. Pedialyte is targeting Starbucks’ #FrappucinoHappyHour.

(Good luck Pedialyte.)

Remove the temptation. Drop the hashtag.

As sad as it may be to accept, it’s not likely that you’re going to start a Twitter trend with your hashtag. If you’re feeling hashtag withdrawal and still feel the urge to throw one in here and there, please join the millions of Americans who have watched this video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, which should satiate your need for hashtags.

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Fellow communications professionals, it’s time to say a long overdue farewell to the hashtag. We’ve had a good run, but if we’re being honest this relationship should have ended a long time ago. There are exactly two valid reasons to use a hashtag: 1) to join a trending conversation about a timely and relevant topic, and 2) to give event ...

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