I am one of the fortunate ones. I never experienced sexual harassment — in the workplace, that is. Sure I got the catcalls and rude gestures from men while walking down the street, one even had the balls to try and touch me inappropriately while I was walking to the store. Needless to say, he would have regretted that decision if he was successful.

But in the workplace, no. Maybe it was because I’m not very feminine. I’ve been wearing a variation of the same outfit since college — t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Unless it’s cold, then I put on a sweater over the t-shirt and boots. I don’t wear makeup unless for some special occasion or I feel like painting on my nails. I wear little if any jewelry. My hair is usually unkempt and out of control. I swear like a sailor.

My male co-workers and managers have always treated me like either one of the boys or a sister. I was always either an equal or an inferior. Never a sexual object. And I thank every male boss and colleague for that. Especially the horror stories that have come to light in recent months. Thanks to the #MeToo Movement.

We’ve discussed before the power of the hashtag. But nothing to the extent of #MeToo. It began as a rallying cry to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Women from around the world flooded social media with their own stories of sexual harassment or assault that have scarred their lives. Since that moment, it seems that each day we see another story of a woman rising up and filing a lawsuit against another powerful person for inappropriate behavior. The impact of these two words is still being felt today — this week, Time named the movement Person of the Year.

The #MeToo hashtag, much like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is another example of a viral social media campaign that’s doing it right. Many forget the actual power a hashtag has. The purpose of the hashtag is to used to make people find messages with a similar theme. Think of it similar to a category in a blog — when you look at the category “SEO” in our blog archive, you’ll find all the posts I’ve written about SEO. The same can be said for hashtags — by typing in a certain hashtag on Twitter or similar social media platform, you’ll see all the posts people have written on that subject.

This is definitely something a business or a law firm should be using in their social media efforts. It gives the business a chance to reach people beyond your own followers. But a question you may have is how can you harness this power?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using hashtags:

  • Check to see what’s trending. When you log into Twitter, one of the first things you see is what’s trending at that moment. If you’re looking for something specific, there are many excellent tools out there that can help you find out what people are using, such as Trendsmap, RiteTag or any social media management program you may be using like Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
  • Don’t hijack a hashtag. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to use a hashtag. For instance, you throw a popular hashtag in your post that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, you could get into some trouble. Someone might actually report you to Twitter as a spammer, and that could lead to a suspension of your account.
  • Keep control. Sometimes, a viral campaign can go very wrong. Just ask McDonald’s. In 2012, the fast-food chain came up with the hashtag #McDStories, hoping to get some great stories about its products. Instead, the company that puts “cheap” into cheap food got horror stories of fingernails in burgers, food poisoning, and pig slaughter. Yuck.

Now, back to sexual harassment. I’m not going to rehash what we all know, that women have been oppressed since time began. We all know this and frankly, harping on it again and again is not going to change anything.  Now is the time to learn from our mistakes and if you are a business leader, you have the power in your hands to make a change. We’re no different than you.

If you are looking for help with the understanding how to harness the power of hashtags in your social media marketing, let the experts at ENX2 Marketing guide the way. Contact us today to set up a consult.