Published on June 20th, 2014 | by charliesaidthat1
9 Tips on creating a great Twitter #hashtag
Hashtags on Twitter collect discussions around a topic, campaign, location or event into a searchable live-stream of thoughts and conversations. They are extremely useful to find people talking about the things that matter to you and your business, as well as finding people at the same event or in the same city as you.
Assuming at this point you are looking to start your own hashtag and not just hijack an existing hashtag there are several things you should consider.
1. Make sure no one else is using your hashtag
Before you plaster your hashtag everywhere make sure you use a Twitter search to make sure there isn’t already a different discussion around your hashtag. There’s nothing worse than having two or more events about different topics colliding over a hashtag.
2. Pick one hashtag and consolidate discussion around it
You need to pick one hashtag and stick to it. If you have multiple hashtags for your event then conversations will splinter and not be brought together around the hashtag.
3. Keep your hashtag short
You only have 140 characters in any tweet. So it’s best to make sure that your hashtag doesn’t take up half the space.
4. Make the hashtag easy to understand at a glance
The easier your hashtag is to understand the better. e.g. #intelligentcontent
If people can’t understand it, then why would they use it?
5. Make sure your hashtag is one string of text
You cannot use special characters like “!, ?,(), £, $, %, ^, &, *, +, .” in a hashtag as it will break the link to the search. So keep your hashtag to simple letters and try to only use numbers for the date of a conference.
e.g. #SuperBowl #WTM13, #CIPD13
Don’t do a Budweiser… who clearly still haven’t got the memo.
6. Make your hashtag the beginning of a sentence for creative responses in campaigns (hashtag games)
You’ve probably seen this type of tweet:
Starting a sentence or a premise with your hashtag means people are more likely to join in.
7. Ensure hashtag is displayed on all marketing around your campaign or event
You could have it front and center on your conference backdrop like:
Social Media World Forum #SMWF
Additional things to things to bear in mind with hashtags
8. Remember hashtags can be used by anyone
This year at World Travel Market, protesters in the Maldives hijacked the #WTM13 hashtag with images of what is happening to locals out there, not quite what the conference organisers would have wanted – but incredibly useful for the protestors to get in front of their target audiences.
9. Don’t spam hashtags or you could get your account suspended
Yup, that’s right. Spamming other people’s hashtags can get your account banned! Here’s Twitter’s rules on the matter:
“It is possible to abuse Trends. Of course, this is against the Twitter Rules. The following behaviors and others like them could cause your account to be filtered from search or even suspended:
o Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search
o Repeatedly Tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending or trending higher
o Tweeting about each Trend in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising
o Listing Trends in combination with a request to be followed
o Tweeting about a Trend and posting a misleading link to something unrelated”
10. BONUS: Some tools to help you measure hashtags
http://www.hashtags.org/ – you can also use Hashtags to see if there has been previous uses of your chosen hashtag
http://tweetreach.com/ – provides useful reports on the estimated reach of your hashtag
http://topsy.com/ – Topsy recently got access to all of Twitters data so is also well worth a look
I also love Twitter’s hashtag decision-making flowchart
Written by Charlie Southwell.
photo credit: Théo La Photo