Making the most of hashtags in social media

Why your social strategy should be more than "Put a hashtag on it"

Have you noticed all the buzz around hashtags recently?

You're used to seeing 'em on Twitter, G+ and Instagram. They pop up on the screen when you're watching your favorite TV show (read: Shark Tank) or the commericals that air in between contestants' business pitches to the sharks. (We're still talking about Shark Tank, right?)

Vine, the latest arrival on the social media scene, now uses hashtags more prominently on its Explore page to help surface popular topics, and news broke last month that hashtags on Facebook are immiment. 

Take a look at your own social feeds. Some people – and brands – embrace hashtags, while others avoid them altogether. Whether you love them or hate them, it seems like hashtags are here to stay. And to help you make the most of them, I've outlined a few considerations for your hashtag use. 

Social tips for becoming a hashtag pro

  • Don't go on a hashtag-spree, at least not on Twitter. The recommended hashtag allowance is two per tweet. 
  • Search social sites to discover which relevant tags are the most popular before choosing what to use in your tweet. Content curators may be searching for popular tags, and you want your content to surface.
  • Create a unique tag for special events or campaigns. Pick one that's logical and not super-long (you don't want to impede RTs), and make it public so folks at home can play along. When we launched our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email, we tagged some posts with #Brainiac. It's a great way for all of our Brainiac content to surface in one search.
  • Treat different channels, you know, differently. While Twitter says to limit the number of hashtags per post to two, Instagram recommends covering all of your bases. You're allotted up to 30 tags per photo.
  • Never punctuate hashtags or include spaces – you'll break the tag and look like a social amateur. If you're looking to make the tag more legible, capitalizing the first letter of each word may help. #LikeThis

Are you a #hashtag #convert, or are you hoping they'll go the way of Tamagotchi pets? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Keep up with Emma's social posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine (we're Emma email).