How to create and use hashtags

Marissa Window

By Marissa Window

October 28, 2016

The hashtag is one of the most ubiquitous aspects of Twitter. But sometimes adding one can muddle or weaken the message of a Tweet. Read on to better understand what a hashtag actually does, when to use one, and how hashtags can better integrate your business into Twitter.

What’s a hashtag?

On Twitter, adding a “#” to the beginning of an unbroken word or phrase creates a hashtag. When you use a hashtag in a Tweet, it becomes linked to all of the other Tweets that include it. Including a hashtag gives a Tweet context and can give a conversation longevity.

Selecting an effective hashtag

Before launching a marketing campaign centered around a hashtag, search for it on Twitter. Make sure it hasn’t been used in a while or in a way that would confuse your audience. It’s best for a hashtag to be short and distinct so it can be easily added to Tweets. For example, National Small Business Week’s hashtag is “#NSBW”, much sleeker than “#CelebrateNationalSmallBusinessWeek” would be.

  • Hashtags are not case-sensitive, but adding capital letters does make them easier to read: #MakeAWish vs. #makeawish.

  • Add the hashtag to your product packaging or order confirmation page and encourage customers to use it when they’re most excited about your products or services.

  • If you use a third-party app to control your Twitter presence, create a column that watches the hashtag so you can easily monitor the conversation.

Joining an ongoing conversation

Are you Tweeting about a conversation that’s happening more broadly (a relevant cultural movement or topical news story)? If so, adding that topic’s hashtag will connect your Tweet to the broader conversation. By adding the hashtag, it increases the chance someone interested in the event will engage with your Tweet and discover your business.

@DoubleDutch used a conference’s hashtag to get the attention of the potential customers attending.

Highlighting campaigns

Are you running a contest, generating buzz around a sale, or introducing a product? Then create a unique hashtag for each of those initiatives. For a product launch or contest, you’ll want to retire the hashtag at the end of the campaign. But use it as much as possible (and consider promoting your Tweets) during the campaign to build awareness. For a sale, celebration, or other types of repeated excitement — reusing the hashtag is fine, and doing so will make it more interesting over time. 

Retail company @FrankandOak used #frankandoakwomen to generate buzz for their women’s clothing launch.

Start using hashtags today to define your campaigns or connect your Tweets to the most meaningful conversations happening on Twitter.

For more tips or updates on effective ways your business can leverage Twitter, follow us @TwitterBusiness.


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