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6 Hashtag etiquette rules for social media marketing

Social media is a gateway to reach more audiences and generate organic discussions about your brand. Online brand visibility keeps businesses accessible by consumers, enabling them to provide both quick information and ecommerce services. If done right, your social media strategies may help your business flourish in unimaginable proportions. However, careless management can turn your social media marketing goals into sludge.

Hashtags, which begin with the # symbol, can be an overlooked component of social media posts. These can be used to keep track of your posts, making it easier to locate posts that are related to one another and see how much engagement they’re driving. Effective hashtags can also lead to higher engagement and conversions, especially if you use one that’s popular among your target audience.

But just like you would with other types of web content, there are certain guidelines you must follow for effective hashtag use. Check out these hashtag etiquette rules we’ve listed down for your social marketing activities.


1.     Use relevant keywords.

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Your hashtags should reflect the theme of your posts as well as the traits of your products and brand. Pick out the most relevant and highest-performing keywords to use for your hashtags. Ask yourself if these keywords are also popular among your target audience. Chances are, your unfiltered hashtag options clutter your posts.


2.     Scope out social media.

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Hashtags are a great way to scope out social media discussions. Keep an eye out on competitors and consumers through the way they use hashtags or how they interact with users.

This is also useful when creating unique hashtags, so you can check if they’ve already been used for other marketing campaigns. Alternatively, you can check your older posts and edit your hashtags, if necessary.


3.     Proofread.

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Make sure all your hashtags are spelled correctly. Misspellings may cause loss in engagement and confusion for your audiences. An error can also bring about spikes in engagement from amused, irked, or curious users, but this isn’t the kind of attention that you want.


4.     Study your platforms.

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Different social media platforms treat hashtag use differently. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook recommend using one to two hashtags per post. Any more than that usually renders your posts ineffective. Also, note that most platforms disallow the use of spaces, but sites like Tumblr include spaces in theirs.

Most platforms enable you to find posts containing the same keywords sans a hashtag. So don’t fret when you can’t fit all the words or phrases you want in one post, since audiences will still manage to find relevant posts if they use the site’s search function.


5.     Use only relevant hashtags.

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Instagram users often include a handful of hashtags per post to reach more audiences. This practice is usually done by ecommerce brands and those wanting to gain more followers.

But before you post, ask yourself if you really need to use all those extra hashtags. For instance, should you really include “#PetsOfInstagram” in a post about yardwork in the hopes of attracting pet owners to your business? Are your hashtags helping the message you want to put across, or are they making your post an eyesore?


6.     Hashtag with care.

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Don’t go overboard. Short and sweet is still the way to go. You can go for witty or serious-sounding hashtags, but place them properly within your post. This comes in handy when you want to create a lasting impression among your audience and if you want to make your brand memorable. No one wants to be typing #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious each time they talk about you.

More so, social media has pushed people to speak up on sensitive topics. Don’t make a ruckus for your brand by accidentally demeaning minorities or promoting discrimination. Post responsibly, and be aware of how your messages may be perceived.


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