Hashtags provide an easy way to get more attention for your tweets and make it easier for your audience to find your content. However, like all sorts of social media tools, there’s a right and a wrong way to use them. Read on for some easy-to-apply do and don’ts of hashtag etiquette:
Do Use Hashtags
A hashtag is a # (number sign, pound symbol) that Twitter users add to mark certain keywords and make them stand out. Use a hashtag right before a keyword or phrase that you want to get noticed. Do not place any spaces between the hashtag and the keywords. Hashtags make categorization simple and make your tweets easier to find in a search. You can place them in any part of your tweet (beginning, end, middle–it all works).
Don’t Go Overboard With Hashtags
There are so many ways to make your content appear spammy, and using too many hashtags is one of them. One hashtag is often best, and most people prefer no more than two. If you fill your tweets with hashtags, you are sure to annoy others in the Twitter community. And remember, you don’t need to include a hashtag for every tweet. Reserve them for tweets that are relevant to the conversation and provide some value.
Do Check First
Before you use a hashtag, be sure to visit Search.Twitter.com and find out whether it’s already in use. Though no one owns a hashtag, some organizations might get pretty upset if you use a hashtag they’ve already connected to an event or campaign. This is especially true if there’s already a lot of conversation surrounding it and you use it to get attention for your own business. If you’re tweeting about a relevant topic and you want to use an already well-established hashtag, consider asking the organization for permission first.
Don’t Make Hashtags Overly Long
Remember that Twitter content is meant to be short and sweet, and that applies to your hashtags too. With only 140 characters available for your tweet, you don’t want your hashtag to take up too much space. And keeping them short means retweeters will have room for comments.
Do Be Careful With Piggybacking on News-Related Hashtags
You might think it’s a great idea to incorporate the hashtag for a hot news topic into your tweet. Maybe you think it would be a good way to grab attention or even a way to create an interesting play on words. The result, especially when the hashtag is related to a serious event, bodily injury, or death, can be a nightmare of PR backlash. In some cases, this sort of thing could even lead to the suspension of your account.
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