5 Tips and Tricks for Using # Hashtags Effectively

2014 was the year of the hashtag. These days every news story, social movement and even wedding has its own hashtag. Made omnipresent by Twitter, hashtags are a simple and effective way to collect all of the content about a particular topic in one place. So how do you use them effectively for your brand? Here are 5 tips and tricks.

  1. Do your homework.
    While it may seem superficial, you should put some thought into the hashtags you’re going to focus on. Research social media users in your target consumer group. What existing hashtags do they use? Begin to incorporate these hashtags, like #food if you’re a restaurant or #fashion if you’re a boutique. Users who have shared interests will be able to easily find you.
  2. Keep it simple.
    If you’re creating a custom hashtag dedicated to your brand or event, short and sweet is best. Remember the Make-A-Wish kid who dressed up as Batman and toured San Francisco? They used the hashtag #SFBatman—so simple and straightforward it’s impossible to misunderstand or mess up. Oh, and it generated more than half-a-million tweets.
  3. Don’t hijack trending hashtags.
    “Hijacking” refers to users jumping on a trending hashtag with a tweet that’s completely unrelated to the topic, usually for self-promotion (example: “Click to join our mailing list! #SuperBowl”).Not only is this a faux pas, it can also lead to major embarrassment. In 2012, during the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, Celeb Boutique capitalized on the hashtag as a chance to promote its #Aurora sweater. Big mistake. Another bad misstep? When oven-baked pizza powerhouse Digiorno sent out this tweet:

    #WhyIStayed was trending in support victims of domestic violence. A little research before tweeting goes a long way.
  4. Know your numbers.
    A widely published study by Buddy Media (now part of Salesforce) reports that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as tweets with none. However. Use more than two hashtags, and your engagement drops by 17%. Just one or two is the magic number. The exception to the rule is Instagram, where (for now) the stats show more hashtags don’t detract from your message.
  5. Use them to engage.
    The great thing about Twitter is that it’s not seen as “strange” to engage with people you don’t know (provided you have a common interest or industry). Hashtags are a great way to drive engagement. Put in a little time responding and commenting to other users who are using similar hashtags as you. You’ll be surprised how quickly your new followers start adding up.

Still stumped on how to get started? KAUFFs can help. Contact us today.