Hashtag Police: Crimes Against the Hashtag
How to Optimise Your use of Hashtags.
Last month Twitter announced a 24% rise in their user figures – they didn’t say if these new users are individuals or organisations, but as the number of companies joining this powerful social network is known to be growing, you can bet a lot of these new users are brands. As Tweets with hashtags receive approximately twice as much engagement, I’ll bet these brands are ready to roll up their sleeves and start hashtagging their posts. Soon there will be even more organisations breaking the rules of hashtag usage, so today I am donning my Police woman’s hat (I’ll dodge the frumpy shoes thanks), flipping on the blue lights and siren, to take a few criminals to hashtag jail.
Laws of the Hashtag
The first rule of hashtag is, you must follow all the hashtag rules:
1)Never use more than three hashtags in one post. Studies show a drop of 17% engagement if 3 or more are used.
2)Never include a trending hashtag for the sake of it.
3)When creating your own hashtags, keep them short #notanotherneverendinghashtag
4)Never create a hashtag which also spells something else #nowthatchersdead
5)Never create a hashtag which begs to be hijacked #IshopatWaitrosebecause
Hashtag to win
My top five tips on the correct use of the hashtag:
1) The optimum number of hashtags is one or two for each post. A study by Buddy Media (now part of SalesForce) shows these posts receive 21% more engagement than those with three or more.
2) Commit to using a selection of hashtags consistently – network in targeted communities and participate in a meaningful way.
3) If you make a hashtag for a campaign or brand, your audience will expect an incentive/reward for using it.
4) Brand hashtags are not always a good idea.
5) Don’t use hashtags on Facebook. Studies have shown Facebook posts with hashtags are not receiving more engagement, although 20% of brands are still using them. When you click a hashtag on Facebook you are only able to see public posts – those from other brands and friends of yours, so by using them you are in danger of feeding your audience to any of your competitors who might be using the same hashtag.
How to hashtag
If you are new to hashtags, read my quick guide: Hashtag to win.
If you have been breaking the hashtag laws then I strongly suggest you amend your behaviour lest I catch you. My colleagues had to dissuade me from naming and shaming a few brands who certainly belong in #jail.