How to Make a Good Hashtag

  • by Christine Batta
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Do you need a hashtag?

The first step in creating a good hashtag is to make sure that it serves a purpose. Hashtags are often made just for the sake of it or because people feel like that’s what they are supposed to do. But when used properly hashtags can be a very valuable tool for creating social media engagement for your nonprofit.

#Responsibly

Hashtags are meant to document and promote engagement. To create conversations between you and your audience that will hopefully draw in new voices. Overuse of a hashtag or making too many hashtags will just come across as noise and that will make your posts and social media activity feel superficial. Hashtags are tools, not emojis (that’s a topic for another day) or dressings for your social media posts.

#ThingsToAvoid

  • #TooLong. The whole point of a hashtag is to get people to find it and use it. Create a hashtag that people want to use; something short and simple that leaves room for the user to contribute to the conversation. Social media has a graveyard full of long hashtags that are too long and forgotten.
  • #A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S. Even if it keeps your hashtag short, acronyms are not the best route for hashtags. They tend to work best when standing for an event or something that has brand recognition of its own, but the main purpose of hashtags is to draw outside audiences. If someone sees an acronym and doesn’t recognize it, they won’t engage.
  • #Unclear. There is definitely a balance to be struck with hashtags. It’s one of those areas where you know whether or not it works when you see it. There is no perfect formula. There is a balance between having your hashtag unclear and too general. This should be largely covered by your messaging goals, but keep it in mind when hitting that # symbol.

#Research

This is an often missed, but crucial step. Once you come up with the candidate for your hashtag—one that is snappy, useful and covers all of the above mentioned criteria—don’t dive in and start using it just yet!

Do a thorough search first. Is the hashtag already being used? If there are tweets using it but they are older, that’s okay. You can take over the conversation and your users will know the content is relevant to your brand. Make sure though. Sometimes there are communities using a hashtag and it’s already been adopted by a specific topic or area. You don’t want discussions with your audience getting mixed in with other active social threads. People will get confused and stop using it.

Another major reason to research hashtags is to make that there are no posts being made with them that are inappropriate to your brand values. Hashtags and social media engagement are meant to augment and spread your brand. The last thing you want to do is open yourself to a situation that can damage your existing brand or attract negative attention.

#Success

Hashtags can be excellent tools if you use them right. They are great for creating engagement on social media and spreading your brand to new audiences. Like any other tool, though, you want to be sure you are using hashtags correctly.

For more information on social media engagement and promoting your brand contact the SW Creatives team for consultation.

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