The Do's and Don'ts for using Hashtags (#)

By Nancy Habeeb Bou Saleh

Hashtags grew in popularity over the past few years. They are used all the time and on many platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube… However not everyone knows how to use hashtags properly for better-targeted marketing campaigns.

When used properly and strategically, hashtags can provide lots of benefits to your business:

-         Hashtags make your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses.

-         They can be used to get your content in front of a bigger audience.

-         They can help increase the visibility of your messages and boost your social shares.

-         They can raise awareness about you brand, and boost your SEO.

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However, when used inappropriately, hashtags can negatively impact your credibility on social media, and will have a bad impact on your engagement. So here are few do’s and don’ts that you should follow in order to use hashtags successfully on your social media profiles.

 

1. Capitalize the first letter of each word

If you are using several words for a single hashtag, the letters can become difficult to skim through so it is better to capitalize the first letter of each word. This way it will be easier to distinguish each word and read at a glance.

Hashtags are not case sensitive, so when you combine multiple words together in your hashtag, distinguish them by capitalizing the first letter of each word.

 

2. Create your branded hashtags

Besides using popular and relevant hashtags, there are times when you might want to create and use your own hashtag.

A branded hashtag is a hashtag you create specifically for your brand. It could be the name of your brand, your company’s slogan, name of a specific product, or maybe a campaign specific hashtag. These can be used for general branding, promotions, events, contests or other marketing campaigns.

In order for them to resonate with your audience, branded hashtags must be memorable, unique and relevant.

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3. Monitor hashtag trends

There are several hashtags that are trending on social media. This is a great opportunity for your business to take advantage of these trending hashtags and get in on the conversation.

Trending hashtags are a great opportunity to reach new leads, promote your business and expand the reach of your brand.

However you should always make sure you know exactly what trending hashtags are about before you try to jump on board of a trend.

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4. Research a hashtag before using or creating one

As with all things in marketing, you should do a little research on hashtags before you go throwing them into every social media post you publish for your business.

Researching hashtags helps you find out the kinds of posts and people who are posting with that hashtag to make sure it is a relevant audience. In addition researching helps you make sure that you are using the correct one.

Ideally, you want to find a hashtag that has a balance of being used frequently, but is still focused on the subject matter that relates to you and your business.


5. Don’t use spaces, punctuation or special characters  

A hashtag gets cut off with the first space or punctuation that follows it, and your social networks will only recognize the first word. So don’t put punctuation in the middle of a hashtag.

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6. Don’t overuse hashtags

Including too many hashtags and just throwing them in your social media posts with no context will make you look spammy and unprofessional to your followers. Additionally, they can be confusing, annoying and this gives a bad impression to your audience as well.

The key is to use hashtags sparingly and only when they add value. Therefore use hashtags in moderation. Just focus on a limited number and include them with respect to their relevance and only when they are absolutely necessary.

Relevance is far more important than quantity when it comes to hashtags.

 

 

Conclusion

Hashtags are the new trend and a great way to take your social media marketing to the next level. They are a neat tool to allow people to filter through millions of posts every day.

So get started and wherever you use hashtags, you will learn with time what works and what doesn’t for your business in order to get your hashtag strategy on track.

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