Since their introduction by Twitter in 2007, hashtags have become a powerful means of communication. Their use started out just on Twitter, but they are now being widely used in other social media platforms. Indeed, the entry of hashtags into the public consciousness was a defining moment in the history of social media.
Many users, however, tend to abuse the hashtag. There is now what is called hashtag spam, which, like its regular version, is just as much of a nuisance, or perhaps even worse. The thing is, hashtag spam doesn’t really work. All it ever does is tick people off. To fully harness the power of the hashtag as a means of communication, it has to be used appropriately. Here are some ways to properly use hashtags on Twitter.
Use hashtags to mark posts
Using hashtags has a number of advantages, such as the fact that you can use them to mark posts. With a hashtag, posts are easier to find. When you’re covering a live event, for example, people can easily follow your posts because of the hashtag, which would appear in the “Trending” section. Marketers can make use of those hashtags to try to reach out online.
Do not use more than one hashtag per post on average
While some circumstances do call for the use of two hashtags, it is more appropriate and important to, on average, use no more than a single hashtag per post. Three hashtags or even more is not a smart way to go, because you don’t want Twitter’s algorithms to tag you as a hashtag abuser, and get yourself subsequently banned.
Only use hashtags that are relevant
Many Twitter users have found themselves at the receiving end of a review because they have used hashtags that might have been trending, but are only marginally related to the post. If you can help it, use only hashtags that are relevant to the post, at all times.
Keep your hashtags short
If you want to establish hashtags for your brand, we recommend that you keep them short and easy to spell. Why? You’re building a brand, and you want your audience to customers to remember your hashtag, and use it correctly. Short hashtags are better than longer ones, so keep your hashtags to a minimal number of characters as possible.
Do not hashtag the same thing in everything you tweet
Repetition is fine, but repeating a hashtag in everything you tweet can definitely push people towards unfollowing you. Sure, you may be trying out some random phrase that you want to be identified with your brand, but having that phrase—relevant or not—in all your tweets can be really annoying. Remember, Twitter users don’t have to jump through hoops just to unfollow anyone in the social media network. They just unfollow you, and that’s it for you.
Always observe hashtag etiquette
If there’s one thing you wouldn’t want to happen to you on Twitter, it’s to draw the ire of other Twitter users with inappropriate hashtags or simply offensive ones. You should also be able to make a distinction between hashtags that are obviously meant to be silly and hashtags that are more serious, and observe them.
Hashtags are certainly powerful tools as long as you don’t give in to the lure of using them as a cheap trick to draw attention. You can use hashtags in as many strategies as you want. Just don’t spam social media platforms and upset users, and you’ll be fine.