Ride the Hashtag, Don’t Create it.

Posted by | October 01, 2013 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Ride the Hashtag, Don't Create it!

This piece was originally posted to my Medium account. You should check it out.

I was waiting for somebody at a wine bar the other day for a meeting when I heard two guys sitting and having a business discussion. For the 12 minutes until my appointment got there, I eavesdropped on them and overheard that they spent all their time trying to figure out which hashtags to create to try and get a trend on twitter.

They sat there and they strategized. Should they have their business name in it? Would that be too spammy? Should they go more general? Can they own this that and the other term?

Social media has much more upside when you’re actually listening and responding and reacting.I sat there drinking my crisp, flinty Riesling, laughed to myself, and thought once again, “people still don’t get social media.” Social media is the first true listening platform, not speaking platform. Yes, you can speak on it. Many will, and many do so successfully, but on the flip side, riding the wave of hashtags instead of creating them is a defining part of my thesis on social media. You’ll get much more success if you pay attention to what is trending on Twitter , try reverse engineer the nature of the hashtag, and then try to bring value to the conversation – joke, a piece of information – rather than what most people think about which is “How can I create a hashtag and start my own trend?”

News Alert: You’re not single-handedly getting a hashtag to trend on Twitter unless you’re the Biebs, or some up-and-coming hip-hop artist who is completely dominating already. On the flip side, your ability to pay attention to what’s going on and jump into it, over-indexing the performance of a normal tweet, is pretty consistent even for people who are somewhat average social media users.

So please, let’s use hashtags as the baseline in this whole thing. Social media has much more upside when you’re actually listening and responding and reacting. Kinda like being a cornerback (I hate you, Darrelle Revis), instead of being a quarterback (I hate you, Tom Brady).

Read more of my writings on MEDIUM and LINKEDIN

  • DIck

    “Social media has much more upside when you’re actually listening and responding and reacting.” Such a potent statement that rings true but I find hard to apply. Gary, why not, when you have a spare 5 minutes, show an example of the listening approach a small, local (known in town or a small region) business could use. “Seeing” the point you’re making, in action, could help many cross the chasm from understanding the concept to knowing how it actually plays out in real time in the real world.

    Many thanks for all your genius insights and commentary.

  • http://petsitterbible.com PetSitterBible.com

    Awesome visual Gary.

  • http://locksmithwheeling.net/ Wheeling Locksmiths

    Point taken Gary. I would not waste my time on something that won’t help my business.

  • Megan Pangan

    “Social media is the first true listening platform, not speaking platform.” This is spot on Gary. I’m going to spout this everywhere bc of you. thx.

  • http://geniusgeneration.us/ Dwayne Golden Jr

    I’ve been trying to tell these tv shows and commercials this for years!!! Ride it !

  • jon_mitchell_jackson

    Try telling lawyers to listen — and thus, that’s my secret :-)

  • egreenfi

    Enjoyed the article about you in The Times today, but that photo really bothers me: Do you not work with women?

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    Great point Gary. :) Listening, responding and reacting are the steps how to understand your audience and to know what are topics they are into.

  • Jed Eye

    #I #disagree. #Hashtags #can #make #you #millions #if #done #properly. #—Jimmy #Fallon

  • Dean

    Appreciate the reminder that social media isn’t the megaphone many treat it like. Now to keep that adapted into my firm’s social media postings….

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