Ok, hashtag skeptics. It’s time to get clear on the power of the # and stop the nay-saying. Hashtags are here to stay!

3 Hashtag Conversations

Put a # before any word or phrase (no space) in a social media post and you will create a link. When clicked on, you’ll see all recent posts that include the hashtag. 

You see, hashtags signify a conversation. There are three types.

1. As a general topic that is part of a larger conversation. For instance, #careercoach is general enough that anyone interested in career coaching could follow and engage.

2. A promotion for a company, product, event, idea, etc.

3. Trending topics like #superbowl or #jesuischarlie. Things that are happening now.

Elements of an Effective Hashtag

All hashtags should be relevant to the topic of your post, easy to understand at first glance, and easy to remember.

Take for instance “#goodbyebreakingbad.” Right away you know the post is about the finale of the TV series.

Short and creative wins with hashtags. Use alliteration and humor to stand out.

Before You Use a Hashtag…

…check to see who is using it. You don’t want to use a hashtag if:

  • Someone else is using it as part of their regular communications.
  • The tag has another meaning that is irrelevant, inappropriate, or could distract from your intention.
  • No one uses it. You don’t want to be the only one in the conversation. The exception is if the hashtag is used to promote your brand or campaign. In this case, you need to work hard (and fast) to get your followers to start using the hashtag as well.

Oops, You Forgot the Hashtag. And Other Things to Consider.

Too many hashtags in one post looks spammy. Stick with 1-3. And, if you forget to include one, no big deal!

Not all posts need hashtags. Think of your online content like you do ordinary speech. If you’re constantly going after the promotion, people will stop listening. Always think of the reader’s experience first.

Happy hashtagging!

Sara Lancaster

About Sara Lancaster

Sara is The Condiment Marketing Co.’s founder and creative director. She oversees client relationships, strategic marketing plans, as well as a bit of copywriting and social media management.