A few weeks ago, a client asked me what the best practice is when it comes to using hashtags. After looking into how we’ve used hashtags at The Orchard and digging up some good examples I’ve witnessed, here are the key takeaways I’d like to share…
The definition according to Twitter:
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keyword or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages.
For example, “Headline acts announced for #Glastonbury2014.”
No spaces should be used when writing/creating a hashtag. It doesn’t matter if your hashtag contains multiple words, you can still group them together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead, e.g. #RapGod. Uppercase letters will not alter the search results, so if you search for #RapGod you’ll get the same results as #rapgod.
Don’t overuse hashtags, use a maximum of two or three in your posts. Use too many and your followers may think you are spamming.
Try to keep the hashtag short, for example, you can shorten #TheMarshallMathersLP2 to #MMLP2.
You can define your hashtags by using directories like tagdef.com. In addition to giving your hashtag a definition and listing, tagdef also allows you to search for the meaning of existing tags like #oomf.
Numbers are supported e.g. #Glastonbury2014. However punctuation marks are not.
Hashtags can occur at the beginning, middle or end of your post.
Some of the social media platforms that support hashtags include:
Twitter: Twitter is where the concept of the modern hashtag began. Twitter hashtags are mainly used to denote specific topics of conversation, the “Trends” sidebar of your Twitter feed curates a list of hashtags you might be interested in, based on your tweets. Clicking on a hashtag word in any message will show you all other tweets marked by that keyword.
Facebook: Facebook added hashtag support in June 2013. Hashtags on Facebook aren’t used as much as they are on Twitter. Nevertheless like Twitter, using hashtags on Facebook turns topics and phrases into clickable links in your post. When you click a hashtag, you’ll see a feed of posts that include that hashtag.
Instagram: Hashtags can be used to accompany photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and gain followers.
Vine: Hashtags on Vine are used to complement your videos to maximise sharability.
Google+: If you click on a hashtag in Google+, the search results will include the original hashtags as well as posts with similar tags and keywords.
Tumblr: Tumblr has a specific “Tag” section where you can add tags. These tags work in the same way as Twitter hashtags, organising post by topics, but the hash symbol is inserted automatically.
Pinterest: Pinterest hashtags can be used to mark and search for content.