The do’s and don’ts of hashtags

Posted by on October 8, 2013

As a twenty-something who’s completely enthralled with the world of social media, nothing puts me on edge like a misused hashtag. So, in light of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hilarious #Hashtag parody, I thought it would be fitting to write a blog about the right ways and wrong ways to use the pound sign phenomenon.Marketwave HashtagDo:

Use hashtags. It’s that simple. When planning your social media strategy, utilizing hashtags is an absolute must. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this growing trend!

Create a campaign. When launching a new campaign, recurring theme or contest, create a unique hashtag that users can run with. No matter what type of outreach you’re looking to achieve, creating a campaign hashtag will encourage users to post and also let you follow the conversation. (ex: #MakeItCount by Nike)

Span several social sites. Hashtags are now spanning almost every popular platform online. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest are just a few that come to mind. If applicable, use hashtags on all your social media platforms. This will extend the reach and life of your hashtag even further.

Hop on to trending hashtags. The whole point of using social media as a marketing tool is to directly engage with audiences. With that being said, hop on to trending topics and hashtags to listen and contribute to the existing conversations.

Don’t:

Create confusion. You want your hashtags to be precise, easy-to-read and sensible. Do not create a 40 character hashtag that’s nearly impossible to remember (#thislongofahashtagisnoteasytoreadandhardtoremember). Confusing your followers will lead to less involvement and fewer shares.

Over-hashtag. In this case, you can definitely have too much of a good thing. You want to broaden your reach, but not come off as “spammy” or desperate. I’d say that posting with three hashtags or fewer is the social sweet spot.

Hashtag the meaningless. No matter what platform you use, make sure your hashtags make sense. Only hashtag words or phrases that are relevant to the online conversation and/or your brand.

Hashtag in unwelcome territory. Do not – I repeat – do not use hashtags on social sites where they are not supported. Nothing makes you look more inexperienced on social media than hashtagging where you cannot. Tailor your social strategy and make sure you’re cautious when posting across the variety of channels. (ex: LinkedIn does not currently support hashtags)

I hope that after reading this blog, you’re ready to hashtag the night away. So go forth, conquer and get your brand involved in the conversation!

What is your favorite hashtag do or don’t? Sound off in the comments below!

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