Hashtag Habits: How to do it Right

The advent of Twitter brought with it the infamous # symbol—pronounced “hashtag”. Meant to link tweets in which user’s tagged specific key phrases, the hashtag helped Twitter develop and expand. Today, almost everyone recognizes the term hashtag, but does your business really know how to use it?
Here are a few ways to optimize your hashtag use on Twitter.


 Only Use A Few Hashtags per Tweet

It’s easy to get carried away with hashtags. The inherent benefit of using them is connectedness, so it would stand to reason that the more hashtags you use, the more connected you are. Not so fast. Using too many hashtags looks sloppy, and the value of each individual hashtag depreciates as you add more.  In fact, research has shown that tweets containing one or two hashtags receive 21% more engagement than those with three or more hashtags. Numbers never lie; try to temper your hashtag use to one or two per tweet.

Hashtag the Most Important Term

We know that hashtags should be used sparingly, so it’s important to be able to identify the most effective term to highlight. When selecting which term to hashtag, consider the conversation you want to be a part of, after all, hashtags are all about interaction with your audience. Time for a hypothetical: you work for an advertising agency in the digital department (congrats that’s a very rewarding field) and you draft this tweet
Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords
That’s a solid statistic and an interesting and informative tweet. It lends itself nicely to an industry specific hashtag which will open up a line of communication between you and other industry experts, as well as potential clients. Now that we have identified the need for a hashtag, let’s consider the term we want to use. After some investigation, we discover that there is an existing conversation about the financial benefits of digital investment denoted by the hashtag “digitalROI”.
 Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords #digitalROI
The addition of our hashtag has introduced us to an industry appropriate conversation.

Use Existing Hashtags

I hinted at this before, but it’s worth stating explicitly. Research, research, research. Investigate which hashtags are being used in your industry—and use them. One of the biggest fundamental mistakes of hashtag use is specificity. If you include a hashtag that is too specific, no one will engage with it. Let’s once again pretend that you work at an advertising agency. You draft this tweet:
ROI data confirms the financial benefits of inbound marketing
That’s a good start, but you suddenly remember that adding a hashtag increases engagement—so you decide to add one. 
ROI data confirms the financial benefits of inbound marketing #InboundRox
Not great. No one is using this hashtag, it’s too specific (and ridiculous, I know). So let’s try again.
ROI data confirms the financial benefits of inbound marketing #Inbound
Much better—this hashtag is being used by other industry experts and your clients will be delighted that you are a part of the conversation.
Using hashtags is a great way to increase engagement, broach conversation and introduce potential clients to your area of expertise. Remember to use these simple hashtag guidelines and your business’s Twitter account will be #optimized.