7 Rules for Twitter Hashtags

It was all downhill after Chris Messina’s tweet.


Hashtags have become a huge part of culture, and have even grown into a digital language large enough to warrant an online dictionary.

Small businesses can make use of them too, but there are a few rules that you should be aware of. Peter put together 16 rules, and I wanted to share the 7 that are the most important for your small business:

Informative hashtags are better than abstract ones.

There’s a reason the #IceBucketChallenge created a trending spike for the ALS Association, and #WTFF (what the french fry) failed for Burger King. People won’t respond to hashtags they don’t understand.

Proofread with the mentality of a 12-year-old.

It’s all too easy for a seemingly innocent hashtag to become a puerile gag thanks to lack of context or poorly combined words. The classic example of this is the 2012 hashtag campaign to launch a new Susan Boyle album using #susanalbumparty. If it can be misread, it will be.

Don’t be afraid to contribute to a genuine trend.

Fun one-time trending tags like #MySuperpower, #MomTexts and #IUsedToThink can provide an opportunity for a marketing message and a laugh, while contributing messages of support to trending disaster-related hashtags can help followers see your company in a new light.

Keep it short.

The longer the hashtag, the more hassle it is to use and follow.

Don’t overdo them.

As a rule of thumb, limit yourself to three hashtags per tweet. “Excited about #SummerVacation” is a clear, simple message, while “#Excited about #summer #vacation #2017! #summer2017” isn’t.

Consistency is key.

Like all marketing efforts, hashtags often take weeks or months before they finally gain traction. By consistently using the same hashtags to promote your message, and by favoriting, retweeting and otherwise encouraging your followers when they use them, you’ll build momentum.

No one owns a hashtag.

If your hashtag does catch on, you can expect sarcasm, trolling and even co-opting by your competition. To reduce this, consider using hashtags that are less likely to be used out of context, such as acronyms.

Also, be sure to check out Lindsay’s helpful article highlighting hashtag campaigns that were a huge success, and some that weren’t.

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