Simple Tips to Make Your Hashtags Work

17 January 2013

Social media use showed no signs of relenting in 2012 and with that growth came the wider use of hashtags by businesses and consumers.

In fact, the American Dialect Society crowned ‘hashtag’ the word of the year and one couple even went as far as naming their child Hashtag. And although we wouldn’t recommend doing the latter, we’ve got some tips to help businesses use hashtags to best effect:
  1. Figure out what you want to use a hashtag for

    By using a hashtag in a tweet or in the description of a photo, users can associate their content with a theme denominated by the hashtag itself. For example, by using the hashtag #Californication, you’ve naturally associated your content with the TV show and indexed with it. This automatic indexing makes search, the second use of hashtags, possible, meaning users can find out information linked to their interest on a social rather than search optimised basis.

  2. #Don’t #overdo #the #hashtagging

    Instagram users briefly enjoyed Firegram, an app which changed the hashtags on photos continually so they’d appear in more searches, gain greater exposure and consequently more likes. Needless to say it was essentially spamming and the app was taken down. The more hashtags you’re using, the more conversations you’re entering. Instead of jumping on three hashtags to make sure your content is seen, just pick the most relevant possible hashtag and use that (numerous hashtags can make things look messy and hard to read.) Stick to these basic rules: one is the best, two is acceptable, three is pushing it and more than that and you’re just spamming.

  3. #Makesureyourhashtagisshortandconcise

    There are a couple of good reasons short and concise hashtags work. The longer a hashtag is the harder it is to read and the easier it is to confuse. Secondly, typing out something long will often result in the hashtag being misspelt, meaning the content won’t be associated with its intended conversation, especially if done via mobile. Finally, a hashtag that takes up half your space just isn’t viable if you really want to say something. It’s hard to be simple but it pays in social media.
  4. Don’t change the hashtag halfway through a campaign

    You’ve selected your hashtag, stick to it. Users hate a split conversation or having to use two hashtags and you’ll just make your own life more difficult when you’re trying to track what’s going on.

  5. Promote your hashtag

    What’s the point of a hashtag if nobody sees it or uses it? Stick your hashtag on all your social media websites, on your print marketing materials, at the bottom of your emails, and so on. The more places it’s seen, the more people that will use it. That said, there does need to be a reason behind the use, and inviting people to “join the discussion” or “voice their views” by including a hashtag is a good way of boosting engagement.

  6. Jump on other hashtags

    Popularising hashtags is difficult, so rather than coming up with your own, search social media to find out what is being used in conversations similar to the one you’re trying to start. As long as what you’re saying is relevant it’s not a crime to add to the conversations. There are even opportunities to change the use of a hashtag altogether, a great example being the charity Water Is Life turning #firstworldproblems on its head.
  7. Integrate your hashtags into sentences

    By integrating your hashtag into a sentence the hashtag is contextualised and the content looks better. It also means you save space and can therefore write more. Simple.

  8. Remember your hashtags are accessible to everyone

    You may have come up with it but that doesn’t mean you own it. As with everything on the internet, hashtags are open to manipulation, often in a bad way. First off, make sure your hashtag is fool proof. Long hashtags made up of many words can often make for some difficult reading. Additionally, individual words used as a hashtag can easily be manipulated in any sentence. Best practice would be to come up with an acronym and end it with a number (if relevant) to ensure it isn’t internet trolled. There are already enough hashtag disasters out there and you don’t want to be the root of the next one.

  9. Look beyond the obvious

    Using hashtags in their conventional ways should now be second nature but their capabilities don’t end there. One such way businesses can innovate is by using hashtags for advertising. By identifying consumers through the hashtags they use, businesses can connect in real time with people who are receptive based on their engagement with a particular subject, hence getting relevant adverts to the right audience.


These tips should point you in the right direction when using hashtags but as with everything social media, using a little bit of common sense and instinct never goes amiss. For more advice on marketing and advertising keep an eye on @RadiumOneUK or search for #RadiumOneTips.


Anonymous help

Hi Rupert, This is a great

Hi Rupert,
This is a great blog; a fact reflected in the amount of people that have been reading it each day since you posted. It's easily our most popular blog of the week.
In many ways it's a shame this advice is still relevant though. Twitter has been around for a long time now but it's amazing how #many people #you see #getting @this #wrong.
Still, hopefully blogs like this will help create a general improvement in Twitter marketing...

Great tips! I see these

Great tips! I see these violated so often.

Separate but related: I tried sharing this on Twitter, but the Share links on this page don't seem to work...

I laughed out loud at

I laughed out loud at "misspelt". Must be time to go #home. This article is fundamental to the usage of Twitter. It should be required reading to create an account.

As a novice, this really

As a novice, this really helped and I won't be that moron who makes these glaring mistakes. Thanks for the tips.

@Tristan - I think that was a

@Tristan - I think that was a temporary blip. hopefully resolved now... thanks for flagging it.

Sorry for the late response

Sorry for the late response all, been very busy of late!

Alex, I'm glad this blog post has gone down so well and you're right, it is a shame the advice is still relevant. However, although it's been around for a while, in the grand scheme of things Twitter is still young but it's definitely here to stay. More pertinently, and as I mentioned in the blog, the hashtag is growing in importance and now we're seeing its use crossing into other social networks; hopefully its wider sphere of influence will help people learn how to use hashtags correctly, much in the same way children learn how to use a comma.

Tristan, hopefully that share button works now! Maybe B2B Marketing should start using!

Scott, glad you approve of the posting; hopefully Twitter will share these with its users!

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