It is probably safe to say that very few people knew what hashtags were 3 years ago. Even people that were starting to dabble in social media and blogging were relatively uninterested in the usage of hashtags. The past 12-18 months, hashtags have become more relevant to social media with the need to both differentiate and trend.
There are a few solid reasons that you SHOULD use hashtags, such as to create a specific chat for your topic of interest or to highlight the point you are trying to focus on in your message or tweet. On the other hand, there are many things that people are doing that are abusing the fundamental reasons behind hashtags and this is both a time and message killer!!
Here are the Top 3 Things NOT to do with Hashtags:
1. Using more than 2-3 hashtags in Tweets. This practice can become mind clutter. Meaning if I have to decipher 3 or more #hashtags within a tweet or message with very little content, then I am going to lose interest in what is being said. I see so many tweets with 3 or more hashtags throughout a tweet that give very little value to the reader. There is a 17% decrease in engagement when using more than 2 hashtags! “THINK” about what your message is and which #hashtags are most relevant to your brand and particular tweet.
2. Loading your profile with ##hashtags. I must admit that when I see a profile that doesn’t really tell me anything about you, then I am very skeptical to follow you. Why should I follow someone that provides no intelligible information about who they are. More importantly, what value do you offer ME?? Remember that in social media; it is not about YOU the provider of the content, it is about ME!! Secondly, profiles that offer little more than #hashtags are a “red flag.” Spamming comes to mind when I see them!
3. Adding hashtags that are not relevant to your post. Doing this with a #trending subject might be appealing if you want masses to see your tweet, but what value does it really offer you or your audience. People searching for key terms are normally looking for that! Stay focused on what you are tweeting about!
**FYI- Do a #TwitterSearch with and without the hashtag and you will find that the key term you are entering will show up both ways!
Getting the most bang out of 140 characters can sometimes be challenging, but remember in the wonderful world of microblogging, Less is More!