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Hashtags: What To Do And What Not To Do

by Michelle Heathers on July 21, 2014
blog-7-21-hashtags

With great power comes great responsibility. Hashtags have the power to elevate your social campaign, but they also have the power to ruin your brand’s reputation if used improperly. They can highlight trends, tie campaigns to chosen keywords, and isolate conversations. Understanding when to use hashtags and which terms to tie to your brand is critical.

TopRank Online Marketing shared the following examples of good and bad hashtag strategy in brand social messaging:

Don’t: “Newsjack” trending hashtags to promote your own products

Yes, adding trending hashtags to every tweet can increase short-term traffic, but your followers will see right through the practice. A good rule of thumb when selecting hashtags is to pick those that make sense with your brand message.

Do: Create a branded hashtag.

This could come in the form of your company tagline, product names or campaign title. Consistently use the hashtag in your posts as well as give followers an incentive to use it as well. Over time, the audience will tie that tag to your brand, and you can track engagement via hashtag searches.

Don’t: #Use #Too #Many #Hashtags

After three hashtags, it’s time to call it quits. Not only do they make your posts hard to read, they send signals of desperation and inexperience, two things you do not want associated with your brand.

Excessive hashtags are problematic on personal accounts, but they are downright fatal on brand accounts. A recent Socialbakers study reported by Statista found a direct correlation between user engagement and hashtag use per Facebook post:

blog-7-21-hashtags-graph

Do: Use a handful of targeted, keyword-driven hashtags

Quality is better than quantity. The main purpose of hashtags is to make content easily searchable by topic. Once you find hashtags that have caught on with your customers, stick with them.

The #LoveMyDQ campaign is a great example of using keyword-driven hashtags. Outside of using the main campaign hashtag, DQ also used terms such as #cake and #chocolate, which fit into their overall brand and message. These terms made it easy for creative responses from their followers as well as tracking and analysis.

Don’t: #Stringabunchofwordstogether

Just don’t do it. Even if you hate to waste your 140 characters on spaces, they are worth it. Proper use of hashtags can ignite a campaign on Twitter, but improper use can do major damage to your brand’s reputation.

Replace these common blunders with the best practices and you are on your way to seeing your campaign’s hashtag in the coveted “Trends” column.

Photo credit: Wikimedia.

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