Remember when this symbol “#” was still just a pound sign?
Well, during the rise of Twitter in 2009, this little guy became widely known as a hashtag and since then, many other social platforms including Facebook and Instagram have warmly adopted it.
In social media marketing, hashtags are generally considered integral to the success of any campaign, and logically, it makes sense.
Similar to keywords, hashtags were designed to help organize and filter content. They are supposed to help your brand and its content get found by users more easily on social media -- but with numbers in hand, the team over at Venengage is calling that a bunch hoo-ey.
In the infographic below, Ryan McCready, a content editor at the infographic design company, shares new data that suggests Twitter hashtags may not be as easy-to-use and effective as we’ve always thought.
Now, as an avid tweeter, for both personal and professional purposes, I can’t deny that there is indeed a great deal of noise out there.
(Let’s face it, hashtag stuffing is the new keyword stuffing.)
As McCready illustrates, general industry hashtags like #Sales, #Marketing, and #SEO, are cluttered with spam and mindless engagement, with quite possibly more people using it than actually searching it -- but contrary to what he suggests, this doesn’t mean you should give up on all hashtags.
Why You Shouldn’t Stop Using Hashtags
Simply put, hashtags on Twitter have reached the same point that keywords in blogging did, many years ago.
As the practice of Twitter marketing(like blogging) has become more popular, the space has become more crowded with more businesses using and abusing popular hashtags like those shared in the infographic.
Instead of abandoning hashtag efforts altogether, inbound marketers need to follow the same path they took with keywords -- get more specific.
Marketers need to look for the “long-tail keywords” equivalent of hashtags for their industries and personas and create content around rather than going after the same things as everyone else.
By going more niche and identifying “long-tail hashtags” with less competition, but notable search volume, brands can reach a more qualified audience and see a greater impact.
In most instances, these hashtags may not be the most popular ones online, but the individuals using them are highly-engaged and usually more ready and willing to learn about your business.
Not sure how to find your industry’s niche hashtags? An easy way to start is with Twitter Chats. Twitter Chats are public discussions held on the social platform using a single dedicated (usually one-of-a-kind) hashtag.