HashtagsWhat an exciting weekend! The NFL Draft, the Kentucky Derby, the NBA Playoffs, the #MayPac fight and, of course, the birth of the Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. Social Media was buzzing and everyone was a pundit with an option. And as we watched it all unfold, an important lesson appeared before our eyes.

Even if you’re a novice Twitter user, you likely know the importance of hashtags (#). These little pound symbols allow tweets to be categorized and searchable by the platform’s 300 million users.  Hashtags have a wide range of uses, from nonprofit fundraisers, to celebrities, to sporting events…and yes, even births.

When Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge gave birth to their baby on Saturday, thousands – no millions – of people worldwide flocked to social media to see photos and hopefully hear the princess’ name. Kensington Palace, the official home of the royal family, tweeted a simple message “#WelcomeToTheFamily” with a royal photo to their 430,00 followers.

RoyalFamily

In the meantime, during the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders excitedly added 10 new players to their football roster. Each time they drafted a new player, they welcomed them with a stylized photo and the hashtag #WelcomeToTheFamily.

Raiders

We should probably stop here and say hashtags are not owned or controlled by any one group, person, organization or royal family. Doing a hashtag search on Twitter is not only recommended, but nearly mandatory in today’s social media world.

Neither party is at fault, but the obvious loser is the Oakland Raiders’ social media team. Its use of the hashtag #WelcomeToTheFamily has become overshadowed by the birth of the royal daughter.

If you’re planning to use hashtags, here are a few simple recommendations:

  1. Do a hashtag word search before embarking on a social media campaign
  2. If possible, use a unique hashtag – especially if you plan to use it long term
  3. When in doubt, consult a PR or social media professional for assistance

We wish both the Oakland Raiders and the royal family all the best in their future social media endeavors. For now, let’s get back to Twitter and watch Jimmy Kimmel take a pre-fight selfie with Manny Pacquiao again.