5 Hashtag Tips to Help You Promote Your Brand Without Stumbling Into Dreaded Inauthenticity

Brands and organizations from Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) to the member unions of the AFL-CIO last week hopped on one of the week’s trending hashtags #EqualPayDay, celebrating a holiday that brings attention to the disparity between the pay of men and women in some sectors.

For LMN and other media brands that target women, tweets and Instagram posts with the #EqualPayDay hashtag seemed authentic. For brands in sectors seen as perpetuators of unequal pay, however, social conversations with #EqualPayDay affixed to them were problematic. Most stayed away from the relatively new holiday, which started in 1996.

While brands with a strong presence in social media have been hopping on hashtags linked to news events and even creating hashtags, it seems clear from what we hear on the circuit that while many PR pros use hashtags and know about them generally, plenty of us sheepishly admit that hashtags are mysterious in their power. Questions we receive and have heard at PR News events include “What happens to a hashtag after I use it on a post?” “How does it get counted?” “How many hashtags should I put on a post?” “How will people know about my hashtag?”“How can I use hashtags without turning people off from my brand?” With these questions and more in mind, we asked hashtag specialists to assist in explaining these conundrums and offering best practices.

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