If Twitter is part of your marketing strategy, you’re going to want to read this article carefully. You probably already know that hashtags are critical to Twitter use, but did you know that there’s a science behind choosing the most appropriate and effective ones? Well, there is, and I’d like to introduce you to it.
First off, why is it so important to use care when choosing your hashtags? Think of it this way: you’re making yourself easier for your audience to find you, so hashtags act somewhat as signposts leading to what you want to communicate. Put up the wrong signposts and what happens? You lose your audience. On the flip side, choosing the right signposts – or in this case, hashtags – and you’ll have them coming to you.
So without ado, here’s eight rules for picking the right hashtags to suit your purpose:
1. Brief is better
While it’s not always easy to rein yourself in when it comes to hashtags, it’s well worth a try. Keep in mind that the maximum number of characters allowable for a Twitter handle is 16, so it’s best not to exceed that when it comes to choosing your hashtag. In fact, Twitter itself is based on short-form content, so remember that theme when you’re making your selections and you’ll be on the right path.
2. Be unique – to a point
Typical or vague hashtags simply won’t stand out in the Twitterverse. By making your hashtag original, you’re also helping your message stand out. That said, if Twitter judges you to be “hijacking” an existing tag to use for your own purposes, it will let you know. Unless you’re adding something to the discussion around that topic, it’s best not to go that route.
3. Be sure no one else is using the hashtag
Along the same lines as tip number two, it’s important to make an impact by making sure that your hashtag isn’t getting used by others. This will help you track your statistics – how many impressions is your hashtag getting? How many Tweets are featuring it? How many others are using it? It will also simplify the way you manage your campaign.
4. Game your timing
In the Twitterverse, timing matters. When launching your hashtag, be sure that it’s appropriate for current events. If you’re still growing your audience, it’s good to give your hashtag a little bit of space and time to grow before you then announce an event or product release. If you’re Tweeting about current events, this also applies as you want to give your audience the chance to respond and contribute in a timely way.
5. Relevance is crucial
When you’re using hashtags, you want to make sure that they directly address the message you’re trying to convey. For example, if you’re looking to advance brand awareness of your product, choose a hashtag that will best achieve that goal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie is the Founder of Katie Lance Consulting – a social media and marketing firm. Katie’s clients include companies such as RE/MAX International, DocuSign, RPM Mortgage, SmartZip and many others. Katie is also a frequent keynote speaker, a contributor to The Huffington Post and formerly was the Chief Strategist for Inman News.