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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

To #Hashtag or Not to Hashtag

When it comes to twitter marketing, one of the key functions is the hashtag. Watched an episode of Pointless and want to see what everyone else thinks about the contestants who knew all the answers; want to see if there's a meme yet of the cute old lady on Antiques Roadshow; or even just want to see the latest hot takes on Love Island - hashtags are prime tools and can really help keep a brand engaged in a worthwhile conversation.

For example, Tuesdays at 9pm are perfect for brands involved in brewing beer with the engaged #CraftBeerHour hashtag. Those interested in the hashtag will be those interested in craft beer, those involved with beer, potential vendors of beer, and those most likely to result in positive outcomes. Getting involved with the hashtag is relevant and can prove enterprising. This can form just a small part of your social media strategy - and I as a freelance copywriter can aid you in formulating the rest.

Similarly, hashtags that go viral quickly - such as puns on songs, movies, or food, or even those which ask you to post photos, suggest funny stories etc. These can help a brand show their personality in a very non-salesy way. In fact, the brand that doesn't mention their products or services and instead contributes to the conversation is more likely to have people then checking them out, rather than one that simply shills themselves 24/7.

And then we come to hashtags to avoid. I would tend to avoid anything that is very played out or have a great deal of popularity already. It's likely that unless you have something brand new to add, you'll be lost in the shuffle. Social media users trust content generated by their peers far more than brands. Also to avoid are generic tweets (I say tweets because Facebook hashtags should seldom be used by most brands) and Instagram posts e.g. #MondayMotivation, #FridayFeeling. Unless your brand can connect in a clever way, just posting a photo of a product and using a hashtag such as that is lazy and can make people think badly about your brand.

As a freelance copywriter with a wealth of social media experience, it galls and irks me to see so many strong brand propositions fall short when it comes to something so simple as social media. All I can do is sigh and hope that they find themselves a freelance copywriter somewhere to rectify their social media mistakes and utilise hashtags when they should be used. Ultimately, it's an instinctive thing. If it needs a hashtag and is a valuable piece of the conversation of the hashtag, then # it. If not, then don't.

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