To hashtag or not to hashtag. It seems we’ve all been fed a load of lies. That’s right. We’ve been told that hashtags are critical to social media engagement – previously, we’ve even blogged about it here. Just as it appears my seventy-plus-year-old parents finally understand what hashtags are, albeit at an almost kindergarten level of understanding, the times are a changing, again.

There have been recent debates about the effectiveness of using hashtags in social media posts. In the early days of social media it was important to cut through the clutter with a pertinent hashtag or two. It was also the way followers and non-followers could find a blogger’s social musings or a trending topic.

Now, it seems hashtags have lost their impact for brands as many of the generic ones like #marketing and #business have become the targets of spammers and bots…nullifying their effectiveness. Don’t believe us, read more about it here. It also appears that social influencers on campuses or those in the entertainment industry and wannabe debutantes are not using them at all, or just barely to signify an event they are attending. Check out your favorites tweeters and see how they’re treating hashtags.

Is this good strategy for all brands? Or, just those that are already at the top of their categories?

It depends on where you are in your brand/product lifecycle. Many new or up and coming brands still need to use hashtags to target those interested in their message. Companies like, just for instance, Coca-Cola, Sony Pictures, Nike, or GoPro probably don’t need to rely on the use of hashtags as they already have a large following that receives their social updates.

I am sitting firmly on the fence with this one as I have experienced firsthand the crickets of a post where I thought I used the right hashtags only to be hear chirp, chirp, chirp. But then recently we posted a blog with a winning batch of hashtags and experienced a “like-a-lanche” of engagement. The best strategy is to do what works for your social media needs and be prepared to tweak as technology evolves and it will evolve right in front of your eyes. #cheers #thanksforreading