Hashtag Do’s and Don’ts


The use of hashtags on social media has become commonplace among users and brands. They’re a great discovery tool, as they can tie campaigns to certain keywords, as well as making content much more discoverable online.

In addition, hashtags make it much easier for people to join in conversations online and engage with other users based on a common theme or interest. They really are a powerful tool if used the right way. But, if you’re getting it wrong then frankly, you’re leaving yourself looking slightly foolish. To make hashtag marketing really work for your brand then you need to be sure that you know what to do and, most importantly, what not to do.

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to use a popular or trending hashtag just so that your brand is made more visible. You can’t ride on the success of another campaign. Social media users are now savvier than ever and so doing this could actually damage your brand. If a conversation is relevant then by all means jump in and enjoy the boost of an already trending hashtag, but if it’s not then stay away. You’ll just end up looking like you’re trying to force yourself on users in any way possible – which ultimately you are. Instead, you should be using trending hashtags that can bring you relevant traffic and give your brand a real purpose. Even better is if you create your own unique and memorable hashtag. Users will then identify this with your brand, which will expand your reputation on social media.

However, don’t think that this must necessarily include your brand name. It just needs to represent what your brand stands for. It could be a condensed company tagline, the name of your campaign, event, or a contest. Branded hashtags are more interesting and encouraging for your audience to share them online.

Another common error is the overuse of hashtags. Some people even use more hashtags than words in a post, thinking that this will result in more interactions. Well – it won’t. It looks inexperienced and desperate, and takes the focus away from the message you’re actually delivering. You don’t want to make your hashtag too long either. Not only does this become complicated, but you can actually find yourself making some awful mistakes. Remember when Susan Boyle’s album was being released and her PR team chose the hashtag #susanalbumparty. It’s supposed to say “Susan-album-party”, but we’ll let you see if you can find the big mistake that they’ve made.

Quality is much more important than quantity. So, really think about what it is you’re trying to tell your audience. Instead of using lots of generic hashtags, dig a little deeper and just have focused hashtags that align with your target audience. Also, by making it short and sweet you’re making it even easier for your audience. Don’t overcomplicate things. Limit your hashtag to two or three simple words and you’ll find yourself much more visible.

Social media listening is a great analysis tool to establish which are the best hashtags for you to be using. The more targeted your audience is, and the more specific your hashtags are, the better the engagement will be. Finally, don’t put any spaces in your hashtag. This breaks the link and therefore only hashtags the first word. For example, you want to use #contentmarketing rather than #content marketing.

These tips should get you started with hashtags, so give it a go. Much like many aspects of marketing, a lot of trial and error is necessary to really get the balance right. #GoodLuck #Marketing #Socialmedia