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How to Use Hashtags Effectively

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The hashtag, or however you want to call it – pound sign, number sign, hash symbol – has taken over the internet today. It is not long before your come across a hashtag on the internet. What used to signify what would precede a number (#1) or in the case of musicians, to raise a pitch (♯C, anyone?) has now evolved to mean so much more for marketers and users akin.

Originally on Twitter, this grouping method has managed to move across to other social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. It’s wide acceptance only proves one thing: the hashtag is here to stay. With anything that is widely popular and accepted, there are going to be cases of improper usage. Here are some hashtag rules to follow on Twitter:

  • Do your Research: this is probably one of the first things you should do. Whether you are creating your own hashtag for a campaign, or wanting to make your tweet more viewed by adding a hashtag, make sure the hashtag you are going to be using is not already being used for something else. Doing so will give you a better idea of what people are talking about in regards to that topic, and let you know whether using it will help or hinder your brand. This is especially important if you want to use a hashtag that is a trending topic on Twitter.
  • Check your Grammar: this might seem a bit obvious, but true. Misspelling a word will have a negative effect on your hashtag. Not only do you want to make sure you are spelling words correctly, but make sure they cannot be misconstrued to mean something else. This is true for when you are using more than one word as your hashtag. One way to fix this is to ensure that you capitalize words and not cause a Twitter or PR fail like #susanalbumparty or #nowthatchersdead did.

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Genius or not? You choose.

  • Follow Twitter’s rules: failing to follow Twitter’s rules will cause your hashtag not to work. Some of these are:
    • Don’t write anything before the # sign. Any word or number before the hash sign will cause your tweets not to show up under the hashtag you have created. For example, if you create the hashtag Youre#1Mom, your tweets will not show up for anyone that looks up #1Mom.
    • Creating hashtags entirely of numbers. Twitter does not allow hashtags of solely numbers, so if you want to create a hashtag with numbers, make sure you include a word in it as well.
  • Don’t make it generic: this one really depends on the goal of your tweet. In the case of a marketing campaign, the goal of using hashtags is to get the conversation going about your brand. Using a generic or widely used hashtag will only cause relevant Tweets to drown in the sea with millions of other tweets. If, however, you want to talk about a relevant topic or get your tweet to be noticed by others other than your followers, you can head for a so-called ‘generic’ tweet.
  • Don’t abuse the hashtag: the ideal number of hashtags per tweet is two, and the maximum is three. More than three hashtags per Tweet is considered offensive to viewers, and will have negative repercussions on your brand.

Hashtags are a great way to promote your brand and extend its reach on social media if used properly. If you think your brand needs help on Twitter, or any other social media site that also uses it like Facebook, check out our low cost social media management plans.

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Written by Tanu Gupta

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