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#LetsRise: Business lessons learned from various sports hashtags

(Photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

An awesome #Hashtag can make your brand trend on social media. Or #APrettyGoodHashtag can make it easier for people to discover posts and visual images related to your brand.

A #WeakHashtag may lead to mockery on social media.

We want you to avoid pitfalls and optimize your business-related hashtags!

Here are some lessons from the hashtags of Canadian sports teams.

The Toronto Blue Jays: #LetsRise

This is a weak hashtag for several reasons.

1. This is baseball, not Shakespeare

The Jays have spent most of the 2017 season in last place, making #LetsRise an example of literary foreshadowing. That tool may be valuable in Shakespearean plays but sports fans are a superstitious bunch. Try not to pick a hashtag that portends disaster.

Lesson: Choose a hashtag with brief, unambiguously positive language. “Rising” implies a need for improvement in your brand.

2. New season, new hashtag?

#LetsRise was a new hashtag for 2017. Earlier Blue Jays’ season hashtags included #OurMoment and #ComeTogether.

Lesson: If your hashtag needs to be changed more often than former Blue Jay David Price changes teams, you need a longer-term hashtag.

3. Be specific

It doesn't help that #LetsRise is a common phrase. Its vagueness could lead to tag searches leading to posts by hot air balloon clubs, bread-bakers and Viagra.

Lesson: Choose a unique hashtag that potential customers will only associate with your brand.

The Toronto Raptors: #WeTheNorth

The Toronto Raptors — with the help of team global ambassador Drake — promote this popular hashtag on social media and on Raptors’ merchandise.

It may seem grammatically incorrect... until you recall there is no punctuation within a hashtag. (A comma after “we” would be correct. Don’t be upset if you missed that, so did the Founding Fathers of the U.S. Constitution when they wrote “We the People”).

#WeTheNorth is a strong hashtag because it follows these rules.

1. Be #Relatable

Toronto Raptors fans can identify with being “the North” even if the team plays south of the Portland Trailblazers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Lesson: Choose a hashtag that your customers (in this case, much of Canada) can instantly connect with.

2. Be unique

It will not be confused with other hashtags. A search on Instagram of #WeTheNorth will reveal about 800,000 images related to the Toronto Raptors, and maybe a few related to Argentine Mastiff dogs.

Lesson: Pick a unique hashtag, but don’t expect to monopolize it. Some of the best hashtags apply to different situations. While you’re thinking about basketball geography, someone else realizes Argentine dogs are north of Antarctic penguins.

Calgary Flames: “It’s #GoTime”

The Flames obviously thought they couldn’t use the apostrophe “it’s” in a hashtag. (See grammar and hashtags point above.)

Lesson: It’s possible Twitter grammar police would have been all over #ItsGoTime, but the real problem with this hashtag is that it’s so broadly used and it’s impossible to hitch a bandwagon to it.

Search #GoTime on Twitter. It’s used for everything from American football to academic deadlines to people brazen enough to update their status while using their iPhones on the toilet.

Edmonton Oilers: #OilCountry

This vague hashtag will lead your fans to photos from Texas, every OPEC nation, and the hair of Donald Trump, Jr.

Lesson: Be more specific. And do your research. Is someone else using your hashtag for other purposes?

Montreal Canadiens: #GoHabsGo

It’s true, Habs fans want the team to go all the way to the Stanley Cup!

Lesson: If your customers are already chanting it, don’t overthink it.


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