6 Tips to Getting Twitter Hashtags Right

By on December 3, 2014

Want to amplify your reach on Twitter? Then try using hashtags. Easy enough to do right? Not exactly.

Peppering your tweets with every hashtag you can think of may seem like a great way to get noticed but believe me, it’s not. Neither is piggybacking on hashtags that have little relevance to your business or whatever it is you do.No matter how much you want to get attention for your business, any marketer worth his salt knows that you can benefit from getting attention ONLY if you get the right kind of attention.

There are many ways to do hashtags wrong. Just read 4 Insights on What Not To Do With Hashtags, Ever! and you’ll know what I mean. However, if you want to do hashtagging right, here’s how:

#1: Do your research first

Once you have your list of hastags ready, check them against existing ones on Twitter. You need to find out who else uses them and in what kind of conversations they are being used in. You don’t want to end up using a hashtag that leads your audience to associations or conversations about your brand that you want to stay as far away as you can from.

When Blackberry announced its need for new employees on Twitter back in 2012, it used the hastag #RIMjobs. RIM stands for Research In Motion, the company that makes Blackberry. Unfortunately, a little research would have yielded that the word Rimjob is a word in use but not exactly the kind that Blackberry would have liked to be associated with. A word of caution: googling this word at work may get you fired.

Rimjobs

 

#2: Stay away from popular hashtags that are not relevant to your brand

During the Arab Spring in 2011, when massive protests and demonstrations were happening in Egypt, Kenneth Cole thought it would be cool to ride the then popular hashtag #Cairo with this tweet:

Kenneth Cole Tweet copy

After it was subjected to online backlash for its insensitivity, Kenneth Cole deleted the tweet and issued an apology tweeting, “Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment -KC.”

 

#3: Be specific

Using hastags that are too general will make it difficult for your target audience to find you and what you have to say. It will make your posts seem like drops of water in a sea of of posts using the same hashtags. Instead, try to make your conversations more targeted by using hastags that are strongly relevant to the content you’re sharing.

For example, instead of using hashtags like #socialmedia or #marketing, you can try using #facebooktips or #mobilemarketing.

 

#4: Keep it short within good reason 

Shorter hashtags allow you to maximize the 140-character limit on Twitter. Not only that, its easier on the eyes and also easier to remember. Moreover, you can capitalize the first letter of each word to make your hastags easier to parse.

However, shorter does not always mean better.  Don’t make the same mistake that the PR people behind the Chester Literary Festival made on Twitter. To promote their event, they decided to use the hashtag #ClitFest.

 

#5: Cap your hashtags at three

#Hashtags #arenot #supposedtobe #thewhole #tweet. Cap your hashtags at three relevant ones. Having more than three hashtags can not only overwhelm your reader but also succeed in annoying them. You want people to find you through your hashtags and read them as well… not tune them out.

And, last but definitely not the least…

 

#6:  Make sure your hashtags read the way you want them to be read

If sentences can go wrong without proper punctuation, so can hashtags without checking how words strung together can read without the spaces between those words.

Take the example of the the Dallas Cowboys. For their London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, whoever was handling their PR at that time decided to use the hashtag #CowboysUK. Needless to say, it got tackled. Meanwhile, the Jaguars kept it safe with #jaguarsinuk.

CowboysUK

Also, for its Switzerland release, the people behind its social media marketing decided to suffix “hobbit” with CH — the ISO code for Switzerland. Put the two together and you end up with #hobbitch.

Hobbitch

 

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
  • http://www.locksandunlocks.com Locks and unlocks

    Really very nice article, I am totally agree that we shouldn’t use #tag in bulk and without research.

  • http://www.thesocialmediaexpert.in/ Thesocialmediaexpert.in

    This is great post. I would love to see more interesting tips on this site!.this is my blog social media marketing

  • http://www.lmh.org/ Belinda Kerr Rehmer

    Very informative. I’ve been searching for the proper use of #’s and find they are all over the place! This is precise and interesting with great examples! Thank you!

  • Allen Holder

    Thanks for info!

    Long enough work for a company that is professionally engaged in
    advertising, by the way, here is our site gladvert.net So, read your post,
    enjoyed it, our company adheres to the same principles!

  • http://msmarkt.com/ MOS markt

    Very informative!
    I will definitely use some of these tips in my social media marketing.

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