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Twitter hashtag best practices

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Hashtags are a delightful, double-edged sword. On one hand, they enable you to organize your tweets so they can be found by others interested in the same type of content. On the other hand, they can be hijacked by those looking to capitalize on the popularity of particular hashtag. With that in mind, you’ll want to go through a checklist of several hashtag best practices to get the most out of using them without wasting a good tweet on a bad hashtag.

Create your hashtag

Keep it short, relevant, and simple. If you use a really long hashtag, people won’t have as much room to add their thoughts. For example: #MMchat stands for #MarketingMondays (a Twitter chat*), but the full version is too long to use in an interactive Twitter event. You want attendees to be able to add as much as possible to the conversation.

Test your hashtag

Once you’ve come up with a snappy hashtag, you need to find out: Is it already being used? Is this particular hashtag routinely spammed by random, unrelated accounts? (If you’re using a general hashtag to increase reach on a post- which we cover in the next section- you’ll want to avoid hashtags that get spammed by unrelated accounts.) Do a quick search on Twitter to see if a hashtag is already being used and, if so, how. For example, searching #socialchat turns up that it’s already a popular hashtag in use for a tweet chat which means you’d want to pick something different for your chat or event. The general hashtag #socialmedia is fast moving and full of information, but also routinely gets spammed. You might test out using it, but know that it’s easy for your post to get lost in the flow of information.

For a more detailed look at how to maximize your hashtag use for both tweet chats (similar to Twitter parties, but reoccurring) and events such as conferences, you might want to check out these other posts:

16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference

7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter

Miss a conference? 5 tips for getting the most out of the hashtag on Twitter

The key to a successful Twitter party? Planning ahead.

9 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a host

10 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a participant

Get more out of a hashtag

You can extend the reach of a post by using more popular and general hashtags– in moderation. For example: If you’re talking about analytics, #measure and #msure are great hashtags to use in order to expose your post to a larger audience of people interested in data measurement. We don’t recommend using more than three hashtags in the majority of your tweets, however; too many hashtags look spammy.

Searching broader hashtags related to your industry will also help you find interesting content to learn from and share on your own accounts, in addition to surfacing interesting influencers to follow.

Hashtags are also a great way to find people who share similar interests to you outside of work, particularly with the rise of social television:

9 tips for watching TV on Twitter

Track your hashtag: Includes TweetReach-specific tips

You can track hashtags using our tools- either to get an idea of a conversation in a snapshot report (free, or a $20 full report) or monitor an ongoing conversation in a TweetReach Pro Tracker. Why would you want to do this? Hashtags can give you a great idea of the conversation around specific topics or events that are affecting the general population– or you in particular, if it’s a campaign hashtag you want to know the reach and results of.

How do you make sure you’re getting all the information you need? Check out:

Common Tracker Mistakes

What to do when your campaign hashtag gets hijacked on Twitter

In conclusion

Have a hashtag question we didn’t address? Leave it in the comments, or find us on Twitter. Happy hashtagging!

*Twitter chats, or tweet chats, are reoccurring virtual events where people meet to discuss various topics using a hashtag to connect the conversation. They’re a great way to network, and increase or share your knowledge on a topic. 

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Written by Sarah

December 11th, 2013 at 11:18 am

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