Hashtag holiday? What on earth’s that then?
Well, the humble hashtag is one of the most enduring features of social media. It’s a widely used (often overused) symbol that’s changed in meaning since Twitter launched it as ‘a thing’ around 2007.
A hashtag’s job
Initially introduced as a tag to help people file and easily find specific content or search terms, it has evolved to become both something that’s simply fun, and – more importantly, the social signpost that drives global movements. Hashtags represent sentiments, sarcasm and – as we all know – global movements, such as #metoo.
According to Metricool’s stats for 2019, the most prolific hashtag was #love, appearing on Instagram an incredible 1,597,832,456 times. So if you tag your post with “love,” you might feel warm and cuddly about joining the love brigade, but it actually lessens the chances of your post being found, as the pool is so large.
Having said that, make a point of checking the daily hashtags that are ‘trending’ – these are popular in real time. As I’m typing this, BBC4 is showing Life Drawing Live – a programme where a group of celebrities are drawing naked people (something I love doing, but that’s a different blog for another day…) while the audience at home are encouraged to join in then email the BBC with their artwork. I’ve just checked to see what’s trending on Twitter and, unsurprisingly, #lifedrawinglive is the top term, with many, many people tweeting their artwork.
A quick boost
While we’re talking about the love, I recently posted a photo of myself smiling happily beside James Norton. I’d watched him that week in Little Women at the cinema, and the Trial of Christine Keeler in my living room. We’d met at a Stroke Association Awards dinner a couple of years ago, and I shared the pic on Instagram. It was one of my most liked and commented on posts, and I benefited from a good number of new followers. I say “benefited” but really it’s not a long-term benefit, as the James Norton fan club will eventually realise it was a one-off post and they’ll drift off.
Making hashtags work for you
The #lifedrawinglive example is a great one of people connecting with others around a shared experience, but it’s quite transient. Hashtags that become a permanent presence, like any good marketing, imprint themselves on our minds. They are fantastic for creating awareness, educating and drawing attention to important issues.
In fact, many have become officially recognised as #hashtag holidays. These trending days allow people to connect more easily with communities that share their interests – or are simply fun and engaging. Some of the hashtags are sensible and important for raising awareness, while others are bordering on whimsical or downright ridiculous. A few of my favourites and some significant ones are listed below, and you can click here for a full calendar (with the sensible ones) that will see you through to the end of the year. (Many thanks to SproutSocial for sharing this – it’s fab!) Cool, huh?
So back to business…
Generally, my advice is to keep your hashtags relevant to your business, location, target market and content. On Instagram you can use 30 hashtags in your post, plus you can cheat and add a whole bunch more in the comments – so make the most of your opportunities and get hashtagging!
By the way, the ‘correct’ name for a hashtag is an octothorpe. You never know when that piece of information might come in handy!
15. Wednesday, National Hat Day #NationalHatDay
20. Monday, Cheese Lovers Day #CheeseLoversDay
21. Tuesday, National Hugging Day #NationalHuggingDay
4. Tuesday, World Cancer Day #WorldCancerDay
17. Monday, Random Acts of Kindness Day #RandomActsOfKindnessDay
20. Wednesday, Love Your Pet Day #LoveYourPetDay
1. Saturday, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day #PeanutButterLoversDay
4. Tuesday, National Grammar Day #NationalGrammarDay
11. Wednesday, National Worship of Tools Day #WorshipOfToolsDay
18. Wednesday, Awkward Moments Day #NationalAwkwardMomentsDay
7. Tuesday, World Health Day #LetsTalk
18. Saturday, National High-Five Day #NH5D
29. Friday, Paperclip Day #PaperclipDay
7. Sunday, Best Friends Day #BestFriendsDay
14. Sunday, World Blood Donor Day #GiveBlood
27. Saturday, National Sunglasses Day #NationalSunglassesDay
7. Tuesday, World Chocolate Day #WorldChocolateDay
11. Saturday, Cheer Up the Lonely Day #CheerUpTheLonelyDay
9. Sunday, National Book Lovers Day #NationalBookLoversDay
10. Monday, National Lazy Day #LazyDay
12. Wednesday, World Elephant Day #WorldElephantDay
13. Thursday, International Lefthanders Day #LefthandersDay
19. Saturday, Talk Like a Pirate Day #TalkLikeAPirateDay
21. Monday, Miniature Golf Day #MiniGolfDay
30. Wednesday, International Podcast Day #InternationalPodcastDay
1. Thursday, International Coffee Day #InternationalCoffeeDay
11. Sunday, International Day of the Girl #DayOfTheGirl
30. Friday, Checklist Day #ChecklistDay
13. Friday, World Kindness Day #WKD
26. Thursday, National Cake Day #NationalCakeDay
28. Saturday, Small Business Saturday (The last Saturday of November) #ShopSmall
8. Tuesday, Pretend to Be a Time Traveller Day #PretendToBeATimeTravelerDay
11. Friday, National Salesperson Day #SalespersonDay
30. Wednesday, No Interruptions Day – Last Work Day of the Year #NoInterruptionsDay