#hashtag dos and don’ts

by | Dec 16, 2016

Are you still confused about how to hashtag? Here’s some simple advice on getting hashtags right.

Are you still confused about how to hashtag? The word hashtag is so widely recognised that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2010, yet many business owners are unsure about best hash-tagging practices.

Hashtags are vital on social media. They help categorise content so that it is somewhat organised and searchable. Hashtags also allow you to contribute to categories related to your brand and allows you to engage with social media users based on interests associated with your brand.

And, when appropriate, they can be downright pithy and witty too.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to get hashtags working for you.

#dos

1. Use hashtags your audience relates to

Hashtags should relate to your target audiences interests and reflect your brand identity. Hashtags should not usually contain your brand name but instead should relate to keywords that your audience relates with your brand. For example, on Instagram Nike used the hashtag #sofast to market a new pair of running shoes allowing the image to be shown with a collection of sport-related images, including images of followers using their Nike products. And who could forget the-then presidential candidate Barack Obama’s #yeswecan, possibly one of the most successful hashtag campaigns ever.

A safe bet is to brainstorm hashtags, perform searches on the platform you’re using and assess whether it would be suitable and beneficial for your content to be categorised according to your tag idea.

2. Tailor hashtags to the platform you’re using

For example, Instagram generally uses far more hashtags per post than Facebook or Twitter, and its tags tend to relate specifically to the post instead of an overall story.

Most social media sites have a guide for best practice hash tagging:

3. Trial and error to hit the nail on the… hashtag

Although you’ll find a plethora of hashtag advice out there, remember that there are no set rules. Some brands find that they are most successful using just one or two hashtags while others use six or more. Some find tagging within a sentence works well while others list tags at the end of a post. Test it out, track your results and use those to plan your future tagging.

#donts

1. Don’t make hashtags too long or complicated

Although it’s great to be specific, you don’t want to overdo it with long, complicated hashtags. #itsreallyannoyingtoreadalonghashtag and your users will be very unlikely to find your content.

2. Don’t use hashtags because you think you HAVE to hashtag

You don’t need to hashtag every post so be sure that if you do you a hashtag, that it has a purpose. If it feels awkward or forced, it’s far better to just leave it off.

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