I see it all the time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. People #hashtagging #every #random #word. Here’s a note to the oblivious, because I was once you (and will occasionally hashtag random words in order to click on them and see what pops up): hashtags exist to connect you to a desired audience. When you hashtag something with millions of hits, it’s unlikely anyone is going to see your post. When you use a targeted hashtag? You have an audience.
I recently blogged about this with Pfizer’s use of the hashtag #FOGO, which means “fire” in Portuguese, and hence loses the community it is trying to reach (those who are talking about their Fear Of Getting Old).
I love experimenting with hashtags. I usually search a hashtag before using it, and try to use targeted hashtags. I created a hashtag for my dog (#BrodyJettHallertau), which will let me track her growth from cute puppy to cute adult dog (and easily create a #dowgie collage, rather than search the thousands of photos I post to the very addictive Instagram). Though #craftbeer is one of those rare overused hashtags that tends to get lots of (fleeting) hits, your post won’t be lost if you use a hashtag like #ontariocraftbeer. Again: it hits a more targeted audience. The Ontario craft beer scene is smaller than the world’s craft beer scene.
And there you have it. How to hashtag: don’t be random.
Keep calm and hashtag on!