6 best practices when using the hashtag


You should be using hashtags. But you must be careful NOT to over do it. They serve a purpose and can help to categorise interests, to build brand and community, and to align you with an audience. If you own a business, you might also consider using hashtags to share your history, tap into what people care about, or convey your personality.

A hashtag immediately expands beyond the reach of those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword. Not only could people be typing in your hashtag on a Google search or even on our website, Shoppertise.com, but they could very well be doing it in all social media platforms too. In this sense, a hashtag will make your content searchable and viewable by anyone with an interest in your hashtag, regardless of whether they’re part of your followers or not. In other words, hashtags could be your best bet for growing a fast following, especially if you run a small business and just diving into the social media world.

Here are a list of best practices when using the hashtag:

1. Don’t put too many words together for no reason.

For example, #importedcocktailshakerfromnetherlands is a horrible way to use a hashtag. Not only is no one going to click on it, but no one is going to read it. You will lose followers if your hashtags take too much effort to understand.

2. Don’t put too many hashtags.

Too many hashtags leads to less interaction. Rule of thumb: 1 – 3 tags is best over all platforms.

3. Learn from the best: what hashtags are influencers using?

Learn how influencers are using hashtags. Grab a handful of usernames of people and brands in your industry whom you admire, and search for their most commonly-used hashtags. Add the relevant ones to your list of potential hashtags.

4. Use the right tools: what hashtags are related and more popular?

Hashtagify.me is one of the most complete hashtag tools you will find. It has reams of data you can use to analyse hashtags. The most helpful could very well be the first data you’re shown: related hashtags and their popularity. When you type in a hashtag, the service will show you other hashtags to consider and will display visually how popular each hashtag is and how closely it correlates to the original.

5. Identify the all-stars: which hashtags are best to use?

Popularity and volume can be good indicators of the value of your hashtag. First, go for the most relevant, follow by the highest numbers.

6. Double check: could your chosen hashtags mean something else entirely?

One last check before you finalise your list of hashtags should be whether or not the hashtag you’ve chosen is being used elsewhere in an entirely different context. You might want to be careful in case it affects your brand negatively.

Hopefully you’ve learned the value of hashtags here and a few neat ideas on how to effectively use it in your social sharing.

On a lighter note, watch “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake in this hashtag-laden conversation on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The sketch skewered what a conversation sounds like in real life when we get a little carried away with hashtag sometimes #lolololololololol

Written by

Christine Liew is the creative co-founder of Shoppertise. She believes that selling goods online professionally should be as simple as snapping a photo with your smartphone and share it with the world. After more than 10 years of building world-class brands within the digital advertising industry, and refining her business acumen in the exciting world of mobile payment solutions, she is now channeling her knowledge to her passion — supporting and growing small businesses.