Four Hashtag Tips That May Surprise You

Hashtag With A Purpose, Not Just Because You Can

Hashtags are one of the most unique aspects of social media. I love that something so unique wasn’t started by a company, but instead the users of a social network got it all going (or so the story goes). Regardless of how it all got started, hashtags have become an integral part of social media marketing and when used properly, they can build community, grow your following and impart salient points within your posts.

Hashtag TipsNow many of us know there are hashtag and social media Nazi’s out there. You know the people who are self-righteous know-it-alls that have an over-confident view and proclamation of the what’s, when’s and how’s of hashtagging properly. I ignore these people and suggest you do as well. Are there more acceptable ways and quantities of hashtagging that can yield better results? Of course. Will the world end if you don’t do them? No.

So to those folks that feel the need to criticize everyone else, we will just say to each their own, smile and move on.

With the housekeeping out-of-the-way, let me bring up a few things you may (or may not) want to consider about your hashtagging tendencies. None the following scenarios are set in stone requirements, but rather suggestions that you should consider.

1) Your company or product name:  This one always blows me away. You have 1200 followers on Twitter, 3000 Facebook Likes and 422 followers on Instagram and your company is only about 2 years old…

   Questions: Why are you hashtagging your company or product name? Do you really think people are searching for your little company hashtag on social media? Do you really think your prospects and/or customers are following the hashtag?

   Answer: Not likely…  At the very most, you are showing everyone what a beginner you are at social media marketing.

   Suggestions: Use hashtags that your prospective customers will actually be searching or following in social media. Your posts are already tagged with your company name and profile, so you are far better off optimizing a proper social media profile and executing a proper social media marketing strategy, than wasting time hashtagging posts with your company name.

2) You’re too serious: Don’t underestimate the use of hashtags through humor. Yes, I mean making up a hashtag that doesn’t exist just to be human and fun. You know, #Icanbeannoying or #Ireallywishyouwouldshutit etc.

These nontraditional uses of hashtags are often overlooked as a way to invoke humor and the approachable into your posts. Don’t over do it, but definitely do it. Have fun with it.

3) Use as many as you want:  Again, there are some that get all Nazi about this, I am not one of them. Frankly, use as many hashtags as you want in a post, just be sure they’re relevant to the content and text you are posting. The worst things you can do are over doing hashtags in a post as well as including tags that are not relevant to the post.

Suggestion: One way to reduce the number of tags you use in a post is to tag keywords within the text of the post itself. If the word you want to hashtag is already in the text of the post, don’t add it as a hashtag too.

Example:  “This is an awesome post about using #hashtags in #socialmedia #marketing effectively”

4) Repetition is the key to advertising, but… : Putting the same hashtag(s) in every single thing you post is not wise.

Suggestion: Be consistent with your hashtagging, but never over do it. If it’s relevant to the content of the post, then hashtag it. If it isn’t a relevant hashtag, don’t.

BONUS Tip – Going across all platforms: Whether you are posting to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google Plus, be sure to hashtag consistently.

Again, these are merely suggestions that should help improve the results you’re getting with hashtags. There is no steadfast rules and I am not one to say what you MUST do, however in my experience these are a few things that you should consider and experiment with and measure the differences between the results. Then adjust and repeat.

Happy Hashtagging!


25 thoughts on “Four Hashtag Tips That May Surprise You

  1. Thanks for this, it was kind of funny to read, especially about the one where people hashtag their own company. I think it’s weird to hashtag at all if it’s not a topic you think people will follow or search for though. I also think it’s hard to read hashtags that combine too many words. But I wonder if hashtagging is getting to be an outdated strategy anyway because Twitter search can find keywords without the hashtag. Have you done tests to this effect to see if hashtags help people find things easier?

    1. Not at all Jay. Hashtags will never go away and are unique for many reasons, but there are thousands of blog posts about that. Keywords without hashtags return far more irrelevant content than with hashtags. There is a conscious intent that comes with hashtags that you will never get with just keywords.

  2. Thank you for this post Robert!
    As you know, I love #Hashtags and enjoyed your tips…

    May I add a tip for Jay McInnes re his comment “I also think it’s hard to read hashtags that combine too many words.”
    It makes it much easier if you Capitalize the 1st letter of each word.
    ie: #HashtagsAreAGirlsBestFriend

    1. Ahh, the power of the hashtag. A RT of this post caught my eye today! Maggie, here’s another fun thing about long hashtags: it’s like trying to figure out someone’s vanity license plate! You ever see one that takes you a while?

  3. Excellent post. I use a few Social Media platforms daily, but never really knew the importance of hashtags ..until now. I will heed your words and post accordingly, Robert. Also, Maggie, thank you for your response to Jay’s comment. That was useful information also.

  4. I don’t agree on #3 about using as many as you want. I deal with a lot of writers, and sometimes they’ll put seven or eight hashtags in a tweet. Most often, it just looks desperate, like “Look at me!” To add to the problem, they’re also competing with other writers who are sending link after link saying, “Look at me!” The result is that too many hashtags looks like spam. It’s made worse when someone retweets and someone else retweets until there’s a long list of exactly the same thing. I’ve come to ignore them because people abuse them too much.

    1. We can disagree Linda. I am not a Nazi on this. I believe the only rule in social media that is a required follow is no spamming. In my view as long as the tags are relevant to that specific post, go for it!

    1. I don’t feel in business… The only question is why would you do that? Hashtags are unique because they are an active link and easily searchable by others. So I would say either make it an actual link to OR hashtag it without the .com. I can’t think of a valuable reason to hashtag a url.

  5. I respectfully disagree with #1. I see consumers hashtag biz names when they want to mention a biz for good or bad and are too lazy to look up the correct twitter handle – regardless of biz size. Therefore, 1, businesses should monitor for hashtagged versions of their business name and depending on what’s being said prepare to take control of the conversations – which may entail using the hashtag to try to generate a different buzz. 2, if a biz opts to hashtag their name as part of their branding strategy to get people talking about their business – why would we discourage that? Just because they aren’t Coke or Disney they aren’t worthy of a hashtag? In today’s economy, whatever a biz tries to do to build buzz and encourage brand awareness and WOMM should be applauded – not criticized. Lastly, there are some businesses who were not able to secure the same usernames across platforms – therefore encouraging use of a single business name branded hashtag would certainly make it easier on a business to keep track of mentions on all sites using something like topsy,

  6. Great post! Dealing with social media all day every day for work I often get annoyed by some individuals who abuse the hashtag. Like some others have said I too get frustrated with those who go hashtag crazy and are only doing so to be found for every topic in their field possible. I can’t even begin to talk about how I feel about Instagram…

    I admire your honesty in the blog post and in your replies to comments. Everyone uses hashtags in their own way and there isn’t one set of rules as to how everyone should use them. It depends on many factors. However, I do agree with the few rules you have addressed.

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