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What’s a Hashtag Worth, Anyway?

Hashtags aren’t going anywhere. Despite the fact that they don’t seem to have done much for Facebook, Google will now let users to search for them—but the results will only display hashtags on Google+. Great plan, guys.

Still, some have had quite enough of the hashtag trend, thank you very much. Here’s Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon making fun of other people for using them.

That skit was pretty good, but it does raise two serious questions: “Are hashtags completely worthless?” and “Rocky the musical?!?!

Let’s discuss.

On a personal level, we only search hashtags due to fear of missing out on those trending Twitter jokes that certain people who are not us do so well.

Here are three other ways hashtags can work:

Events:

One-time promo campaigns. Here are six particularly memorable ones from Hubspot and Mashable, but everyone including Mitt Romney knows that these kinds of stunts can quickly backfire:

Topics of discussion (we know PR orgs do this a good bit as well, and it’s a good way to check out contributions to the debate from people you don’t follow):

Of course JT would never, ever use hashtags:

Here’s the thing, though: while they can be useful in a limited number of cases, we see no evidence of tags increasing your reach or anything like that, because how would someone know what to search for in the first place if they hadn’t already seen your message? We’d like to hear from anyone with contradictory analytics.

Also: hashtags in your Twitter bio? That makes no sense at all.

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