While scanning my Facebook homepage, Twitter feed, or Instagram page it’s rare for me to not come across a hashtag. Whether it’s a tweet, status update, comment, or caption chances are I’ll find a word or phrase with a hashtag. Although a once scarcely used practice, the hashtag has come to define our day to day actions and thus describe our lives. This has happened so much that now the hashtag has left my computer screen and traveled onto my television, the magazine in my hand, and even the T-shirt I’m wearing. Whether you are a #lover or #hater it’s time to accept that the hashtag is everywhere and it’s here to stay.
Regardless of your feeling about the hashtag it’s helpful to understand its importance. Knowing what hashtags are trending can help you or your company boost its SEO on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This will help bring traffic to your business and the product or service you are selling. If you are lucky enough to develop a trending hashtag even larger opportunities for your business will arrive at your door.
For instance, as it being a Thursday while I write this, #tbt is trending. (Throwback Thursday for those of you without a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account.) If I were to attach an old picture of a staff member at Matter connected with #tbt the chances of more people seeing the picture on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram would sky-rocket. This increases the chance that people will meander their way to the Matter profile page thus resulting in more followers.
While attempting to boost your social media presence it is important to add a hashtag here or there, but remember with every upside there is a downside. Don’t believe me? Just ask McDonald’s. Last summer when McDonald’s started their Twitter campaign, #McDStories, McDonald’s planned to tell stories of all the great efforts that come from the production of their food. For example, telling the story about a farmer’s growing process with #McDStories at the end of the tweet. Unfortunately for McDonald’s this hashtag did not go as planned. Within hours #McDStories changed from praise about McDonald’s to horror stories that happen all too often at America’s favorite fast food establishment. According to an article on PR Daily, McDonald’s pulled the hashtag by the end of the day only to find that #McDStories was mentioned 72,788 times, most of which being negative comments.
With any campaign you launch there are risks to be taken. The same goes for social media and the use of hashtags. By just adding a # to a phrase you have the potential to boost your SEO and blow up your Twitter feed, Facebook page, or Instagram profile. But keep in mind to tread lightly the hashtag has the power to keep you afloat or sink you.