My number one pet peeve on social media sites is the over usage of the hashtag. People misconstrued its original purpose. The goal of the hashtag is to connect similar key topics and messages in an organized manner. The hashtag creates a link that allows ideas to be searchable. It does not necessarily have to be placed at the end of the copy in order for it to have the same effect. Now that hashtagging is a tool on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, it is important to understand how to appropriately use it.
To me, overly hashtagging tells the world that you are unprofessional. Throwing the (#) sign in front of five words proves the point that you do not have a concise message that you are trying to convey. Especially for a PR practitioner, it is an important skill to master. A great usage for a hashtag is for a campaign or an event. It directs your audience to a page that will provide them with useful information or engaging images surrounding the campaign or the event.
In addition to the unprofessional aspect, over hashtagging is tacky. I perceive it childish and just plain obnoxious. We all know the type of post that I’m referring to. It’s the ones that make you cringe as you read them. Even when you are posting on social media for personal purposes, always be aware of how you are presenting yourself.
An important thing to note: Avoid using generic hashtags. People don’t care if you think your dog is #cute. Every one thinks his or her dog is cute.
Think wisely the next time you go to hit the (#) key. You don’t want to be that person whom #hashtags thirty times in one post. YIKES. Remember who your audience is and the goal of the message.
For further understanding the art of the hashtag, visit http://www.howtohashtag.com/.
University of Minnesota