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#LOOKATME – How We’re Killing the Hashtag
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#Blogging #ThoughtLeader #Marketing… Look familiar? Excuse my melodrama as I exclaim that we are killing the hashtag. They’re not dead. We may run the risk of making them less relevant and valuable, however. As marketers we are constantly churning out content. We’re writing and we’re posting and we’re watching our website traffic like obsessed girlfriends.

When those numbers or graphs go up a tick we celebrate. But it’s getting harder to rank. It’s getting harder to elbow out the other marketers who are also blogging and posting and watching their analytics. We’re shoving in every trending hashtag as long as it makes some kind of conceivable sense. Part of this is because of content fatigue, but we are also experiencing a new kind of plague ‘o the internet. Hashtag fatigue and honey, I’m tired!

When someone does something like this, it’s usually because they think it will up their chances of being seen. The idea of great content in and of itself sometimes takes a back seat to opportunistic thinking. The when and the where DOES matter. If you are posting on the right platform with the right hashtag at the right time, you may get some views, but to what end? You will not position yourself as a thought leader with content that is deemed ‘good enough’. Whatever is attached to that hashtag matters too – and I would argue it matters the most.

Use Your Hashtag Like a Door

Hashtags open us up to unique channels and give us connections to people who are interested in the same things we are. When it first came out, it was a brilliant tool used to bring together tribes of like-minded people. It’s also a god-send for social listening exercises. Hashtags have a wonderful place in this marketer’s heart but misuse just adds to the overwhelming noise. We’re turning these concise and empowering hashtags into nuisances that just color our feed in blue links.

If we use our hashtags like a door that we enter into a discussion with, it would be pretty rude to pop our head into every conversation on the internet and shout until someone begrudgingly pats us on the head.

Position yourself like the life of the party. Say something funny, say something insightful, say something people can relate to. The whole point of the ‘inbound marketing methodology’ is to bring people to you, who are actually interested in your message.

Why Great Content Matters

A recent study found that although a larger percentage of participants have grown to rely on web content than just a few years ago, 65% of them find web content is “hit or miss” or “unreliable”.

I’m sure you can put two and two together on why they think our content is “hit or miss”. We make marketing plans and blog schedules with great campaigns in mind. Maybe our topics are fire. But we get busy. We get behind. Life happens.

We just have to get these blogs out on the day we scheduled them or by God the world will fall apart!

What if I told you it would be better to push the blog back a while than to publish a mediocre blog just for the sake of our ironclad schedules? Einstein said “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” And I don’t usually argue with geniuses.

So, a week later, when you have your well thought out blog – with it’s witty banter and hard hitting truths – ready to be published, you don’t need a list of hashtags as long as a CVS receipt. A few #relevant hashtags, #tastefully placed will work just fine for your lofty social media goals.

Because your hashtags may do the walking, but your content has to do the talking.

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