10 Hashtag Best Practices You Should Start Using Today!

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Interval_Running_Up_The_Anderson_Hill__The_Tan____Awesome_Åshild Hashtags. Proof that it’s possible to adore something one minute and deeply despise it the next.  And yes, this is not the first I’ve ranted about hashtags, but I’m providing some great tips!

Help put an end to hashtag abuse!

We’re all familiar with hashtag abuse. Some of you may be culprits of this heinous Internet crime; others may be victims. Regardless of where you fall, there is no denying that this little waffle-shaped symbol can be a useful addition to your marketing efforts when used well. We have seen successful hashtag campaigns in Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat and Make A Wish Foundation’s #SFBatKid. What sets these apart from the overwhelming number of hashtag fails that flood our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds? These organizations follow best practices, and in doing so, engage with their communities.

Following hashtag best practices improves your marketing

By following a few hashtag best practices, you not only can improve your online marketing efforts, you can make the Internet a better place.

Here are my recommended 10 hashtag best practices: 

1.  Less Is More: As a rule of thumb, never use more than 3 hashtags in a single post or tweet.

Annoying use of hashtags 2. #LongStringsOfWordsAreANNOYING: Do not ever use outrageously long hashtags. It’s confusing at best and does nothing to drive search results to your twitter profile or tweets.  Here’s an example of bad hashtag usage (and generally a tweet that makes you go — What?) horrible hashtag tweet

3. Be Specific: Using generic hashtags, such as #marketing or #running in a campaign results in an abundance of hashtags that are coincidental. This will make it near impossible to track the Tweets and posts that are in response to your specific campaign.

4. Easy to Remember/Easy to Spell: Using overly complicated hashtags for campaigns will result in less engagement as well as a variety of wrong spellings. No beuno! Keep it simple (yet creative) and catchy.  One way to make it easy to remember is to speak to YOUR audience. Doritos nailed it with their #crashthesuperbowl Twitter campaign that followers are still talking about.  You want to learn some great hashtag campaigns, check out Doritos profile. Doritos crashthesuperbowl twitter

5. Be Original: Don’t be the one that “borrows” a trending hashtag. Nobody likes a copycat! Be original, be creative, and have fun brainstorming the perfect and unique hashtag. Plus, stealing someone else’s hashtag could backfire in a big way. Just read about #NotGuilty. Talk about a hashtag disaster!

6. Understand the Platform: Hashtagging on Instagram is entirely different than hashtagging on Facebook or Twitter. Understanding the differences will make you a more affective “Hashtagger”. Do your research and see what works best where.

7. Include a Call to Action: Just sticking a fun and creative hashtag in your Tweets and posts isn’t enough. Make sure you give your followers an objective. Whether it’s a competition, sharing a photo, or telling a story (just not a McDStory, please!), make sure you get some value out of your hashtag campaign.

8. Double-Check and Then Check Again: The majority of epic hashtag fails could have been avoided with a tiny bit of quality control. Make sure that you think of every possible interpretation of your hashtag before you use it. Don’t be the person that comes up with the next #susanalbumparty or #McDStories.

9. #CapitalizationIsAwesome: Capitalizing different words in a hashtag makes it easier to read and can prevent unfortunate interpretations (#SusanAlbumParty vs #susanalbumparty).

10. Have a Backup Plan: The Internet is a ruthless place. Even if you do your research, there is a chance that your campaign could take a turn in the wrong direction. Always have a crisis management plan in place so that you can respond quickly and effectively.

Using hashtag best practices doesn’t mean you can’t have fun

Lastly, have fun! When you have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously, your followers also have fun. Look at Charmin – I can always count on their tweets and hashtags to add a spice of fun to my newsfeed. Have fun, and be fun!

Do you know any hashtag best practices that you feel I’ve left out? Please share in the comments below!

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About Danielle Prager

Danielle is the marketing manager at Rival IQ. When she's not working, she likes to spend her time keeping up to date on pop culture, getting her yoga on, and obsessing over how awesome the 90s were. You can find her on Twitter, @Danielle_Prager , and on Google+.

View all posts by Danielle Prager »

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Comments

  1. Mark Gibson says:

    What would happen if you hashtagged the word hashtag? Would the universe implode?

  2. Yes I think it would implode, Mark. Remember, you must use your marketing superpowers for good not evil :-).

  3. If there are not major marketing dollars behind promoting the custom hashtags like in the examples cited, generic hashtags (while granted not for tracking) are more effective for increasing the potential audience for the tweets. Using the correct hashtags like place names and content categories like #video can mean the difference between only your followers seeing a tweet or visibility with much larger audience with an interest in broader topics.

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