How to Use Hashtags on Twitter: Best Practices

Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to post updates on what they are doing. Twitter hashtags are used to categorize tweets and can be found in the search box at the top of Twitter’s homepage. This blog post will teach you how to use Twitter hashtags for maximum engagement and reach!

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags were first used on Twitter in 2007, however, they are now utilized across a variety of social media platforms, especially Instagram, as well as TV and video advertising.

A hashtag comprises two parts: the hash symbol – # – sometimes called the pound symbol in the US – immediately followed by a keyword or phrase. For example, putting the # symbol in front of the words ‘World Cup’ (without a space) makes it a hashtag: #WorldCup.

Why use hashtags?

The use of hashtags is a great way to organize and categorize tweets, as well as allowing users to follow subjects that they’re passionate about. Instead of scrolling through their Twitter feed for a certain topic, anyone looking for it can discover relevant tweets right away rather than having to go through all of their tweets.

The study found that tweets containing hashtags had a greater engagement – clicks, retweets, likes, and replies – for both people and businesses. For individuals, tweets with hashtags may almost double engagement (100% increase) and for brands it can more than double engagement (1.5x).

So, to assist people to discover and interact with your material, you should employ relevant hashtags.

When should I use hashtags on Twitter?

You may use a hashtag to designate a certain subject or different types of hashtags to group your content together. For example, you might use popular hashtags for:

  • Events: #Wimbledon, #CMIWorld
  • Places: #NYC, #London
  • Themes: #ThursdayThoughts
  • Things: #coffee, #computers, #cars, #cats
  • Verbs: #golfing, #blogging, #cooking, #writing
  • Industry terms: #socialmedia, #photography, #tech, #contentmarketing
  • Niche hashtags: these relate to specific parts of a niche such as #ketodietrecipe or #bulletjournals
  • You’ll also see hashtags used for Twitter Chats; for example, #QChat
  • A branded hashtag is used by the brand itself and often use its name or a short phrase that the target audience will associate with the brand

When shouldn’t I use hashtags on Twitter?

If you’re trying to drive visitors to your website, don’t utilize hashtags in your advertising. According to Twitter, adverts without a #hashtag or an @mention receive 23% more clicks. Unsurprisingly, their best practice is to avoid using #hashtags or @mentions in your text so that your audience does not click away

Tips on formating your tweets and hashtags

Here are a few formatting and use ideas to help you make the best use of hashtags on Twitter and formulate an effective hashtag strategy.

You may use as many hashtags as you want in your tweet. Twitter advises that you should utilize no more than two hashtags per message, but you’re free to test using as many as you like as part of your social media strategy.

Don’t use spaces in hashtags. ‘#World Cup,’ for example, would be interpreted as referring to the subject of ‘World’ rather than the topic of ‘#WorldCup.’

Don’t use punctuation in a hashtag. However, #It’sComingHome is grammatically correct, but it won’t work. Use #ItsComingHome instead.

Hashtag Best Practices

1. Too many hashtags will decrease your engagement

Twitter recommends no more than two hashtags per Twitter post. Too many hashtags and the tweet can become hard to read and look awkward which puts people off. Limit yourself to 1-2 hashtags for the majority of the tweets that you send.

2. Long hashtags are annoying

Sometimes they are needed but long hashtags are annoying so Twitter recommends shortening them. Twitter says that you should be able to fit the hashtag in a tweet without having it break because too many characters will split your hashtags across two lines, which not only looks messy but also makes it hard for people to read.

But Twitter sometimes still breaks up long hashtags depending on the number of letters and punctuation in the hashtag. Twitter suggests that you keep hashtags as short as possible and avoid having them broken across two lines by using a URL-shortener such as bitly or goo.gl to create shorter versions of long hashtags which will still work properly on Twitter.

3. Capitalization wins

Long strings of letters with no capitals in them can also be hard to read so think about using capitalization to make it easy to understand what the hashtag says. Twitter suggests using capitals when you want people to click on a hashtag or when it is part of your brand name such as #BrandnameHashtag

4. Pick hashtags wisely

It is important to do a little research on a hashtag before using it in case there are negative connections with it or it is even blacklisted in some way. On Twitter, certain hashtags are blacklisted because Twitter has detected spammy behavior from them.

If people click on a hashtag and see nothing but a lot of unrelated content, Twitter says they will be less likely to use it in the future or recommend it to others so remember that hashtags can help your business grow if used properly but also the opposite is true as well if you use them in the wrong way.

5. Use services like @hashtagify to help pick the best ones

There are lots of free tools out there to help you find the best hashtags as well as the search bar inside Twitter itself to research them and make sure there’s nothing negative tied in with them. Try out a few and find the one that works best for your workflow.

Grabbing the power of hashtags

Twitter made the hashtag what it is today and there’s still a lot of need for it. Using it wisely in your tweets helps extend your reach and gives your content the best context with other tweets on the topic.  And you can measure the effectiveness of hashtags with the built-in tools that Twitter offers for best post performance.

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