Must-Know Hashtag Etiquette

by Chris Marentis August 23rd, 2013 

Hashtags are searchable labels for web content on social media sites. Although hashtags initially gained popularity on Twitter, today they are frequently used on other major social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. Adding a hashtag to a message is easy. Simply put the # sign in front of a word or words without spaces (e.g. #AboutHashtags). The difficult part is using proper hashtag etiquette on specific social media platforms. Improper use of hashtags can diminish your local internet marketing efforts and make your posts look like spam.

Some Pointers on Hashtag Etiquette

Below are several brief pointers on how to effectively use hashtags:

  • Use the "#" symbol
  • Do NOT use spaces
  • Make the word or words following the # symbol easy to remember
  • Make the words short
  • Make all hashtags relevant to your content

The last hashtag pointer is one of the most important. After all, why bother using searchable hashtags that do not accurately represent what your local business has to offer? Plus, misrepresenting a business to drive site traffic can promote negative public perception and cause confusion. Focus on hashtags that will drive the most relevant site traffic instead of focusing on hashtags that will drive the most site traffic overall. Remember- sometimes quality beats quantity.


Hashtag Pollution Problems

As a rule of thumb, no post should have more than two hashtags. Hashtag pollution can make your posts difficult to read and understand. In large part, the real value of hashtags is that they allow users to search for specific content. Pick the two most relevant terms for your hashtags to promote connecting with the right audience. It is important to recognize that social media users can easily search for a comparable business, and it is your job to not give audience members a reason to find posts from a competitor that are easier to understand. Make hashtags clean, short, simple, and relevant.

Hashtag Misuse Consequences

Launching social media marketing campaigns usually requires a good amount of trial and error. However, blatant misuse of social media marketing tools such as irrelevant hashtags can have lasting consequences to comprehensive local internet marketing campaigns. Unfavorable user data (e.g. short landing page visits) can lower site rankings on major search engines and diminish the relevancy of your site.

Takeaway Points for Hashtag Use

In summary, be forthcoming. Use hashtags thoughtfully and wisely. Instead of focusing on the number of unique site visits, focus on the big picture. You want to connect with an interested audience by using the right searchable hashtags.

Chris Marentis

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

Surefire Social

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One Response to “Must-Know Hashtag Etiquette”

  1. Excellent tips, Chris. It's something that's often not very well covered on online marketing blogs. Everyone knows that they should be using hashtags in their marketing, but many either go over-the-top, or don't understand how to get the most out of them.

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