Trick or Tweet: Are These Five Hashtag Mistakes Haunting You?

Nov 02, 2016 Sally Brown

The hashtag has transformed into a pop culture phenomenon. But in the beginning of the Twitter era, the hashtag was originally developed to help organize tweets and get them seen by the correct audience and those interested in the topic.

I know what you’re thinking… Hashtags? Piece of cake. Although hashtagging may seem straightforward and simple enough, many people aren’t getting it quite right. Stay social media savvy and avoid these common hashtag mistakes:

  • Not researching them thoroughly. Anyone can create and use a hashtag. So before deciding on one, it’s important to know if it is already being used and whether or not you want to join in that existing conversation.
    • Tip: When brainstorming a new hashtag, take a moment to do a little research. Pop it into Twitter’s search bar and check if it is already in use. If it is, determine what kind of conversation it’s generating and in what context it’s being used.
  • Making them too long. Avoid including too many words in your hashtags. What do the best hashtags look like? Short and sweet. Hashtags should be visually appealing and encapsulate the topic succinctly.
    • Tip: Don’t choose to use the first hashtag that pops into your head. Take your time and brainstorm alternatives. You’ll likely figure out a shorter, catchier way to capture the same idea.
  • Using too many in a single tweet. The goal of hashtags is to get your message in front of the right audience. Squeezing as many hashtags as possible into one tweet is not the way to reach that goal. You have a limited number of characters to get your point across and your message heard use them wisely. The majority of your characters should not be dedicated to hashtags.
    • Tip: 1-2 hashtags per tweet is ideal.
  • Using spaces between words. To those who tweet regularly, this may seem like an obvious mistake, but I had to include it. For those who are less familiar with the rules of Twitter, remember that hashtags only include the characters directly following the “#” symbol. So if you have a space between your words, only the first word will be hashtagged.
    • Tip: #This Is Not A Hashtag. #ThisIs.
  • Hashtagging a brand. To @ or # that is the question. When it comes to referencing brands, hashtagging is not the answer.
    • Tip: Brands will most likely have a Twitter handle, so @ them instead. This is the best way to get on their radar since brands will be notified when you @ them. Who knows, it may even spark an interaction between you and the brand or person you’re trying to reach.

It’s important to incorporate smart hashtag techniques into your social media strategy. Halloween may be over, but these mistakes will haunt you forever. For more information on hashtags, check out the seven most attention-grabbing hashtags of 2015.

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Topics: Twitter, How To, Social Media
Sally Brown

Sally is a senior account executive and key member of InkHouse's education practice as well as its marketing tech and enterprise tech teams. Across her accounts, Sally drives media relations, including strategy and outreach, and as a core writer on her teams (and passionate copy editor), she develops content in all capacities for her clients.

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