You Don’t Need a Hashtag

I spend more time discussing hashtags than I’d care to admit. This is mostly due to a general misunderstanding about what they’re used for (clustering and participation) and a too-generous assumption that people give a shit about brands (they don’t).

Hashtags allow the grouping of like-minded conversations. This can look like many things; from real-time commentary during Game of Thrones to streams of people tagging their holidays photos with the destination. At their most powerful, hashtags are anchors that allow movements to build.

With rare exceptions, brands do not play in this space. At least, not as the creator of such hashtags.

If you’re still not convinced:

  • Real people do not use branded hashtags
  • Putting a hashtag on something doesn’t make it more shareable
  • Measurement should not be the only reason something exists (and is not user-first)
  • Turning your brand line into a hashtag for the sake of it is lame
  • Turning your campaign line into a hashtag is even lamer

As always, there are exceptions. But when someone asks if you need a hashtag, the answer is probably not.

No Comments
  • Ronan Fitzgerald
    Posted at May 24, 2016 3:27am, 24 May Reply

    Hi Zac,

    Completely agree with your post – any ideas on how to convince other stakeholders that a branded hashtag is embarrassing and lame?

    An agency recommended one for my organisation and I nearly cringed myself blind.

    Any suggestions are welcome!


  • Zac Martin
    Posted at May 25, 2016 5:08pm, 25 May Reply

    Ronan – the best argument is always data. We need someone to help us facilitate some research to demonstrate the number of branded hashtags that are used less than a dozen times!

Post A Comment