Minding your manners with hashtag etiquette

Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days. For example, there are Facebook hashtags, Twitter hashtags, Instagram hashtags, and even Google Plus is using hashtags. This is great because you can begin to incorporate hashtags into all of your social networks. Before you do though, you need to be aware of the proper hashtag etiquette.

Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good when using hashtags on your favorite social networks.

What is a hashtag?

Oxford dictionaries defines a hashtag as a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

To sum this up, when it comes to social networks, hashtags are clickable links that bring together posts from that network that are also using that hashtag.

This can be useful because it lets you see who else is talking about a similar topic on your favorite social network.

Hashtag evolution

The hashtag has evolved quite a bit throughout history though. In fact, it wasn’t always used like how it is today. There is a rich, storied history of the hashtag.

Common hashtag mistakes

While hashtags seem like they’re very easy to use, here are common mistakes you want to avoid when using hashtags.

  1. Stringing together too many words in a hashtag.
    • For example, using #hashtaqetiquettetips when just #etiquette will suffice.
  2. Tagging every word in a post with a hashtag.
    • Not only is this unprofessional, but doing this can make it difficult to follow a post or tweet.
  3. Using hashtags that don’t relate to your business or brand
    • This is a big no-no when using hashtags. An example of this is using a hashtag and including a link to a product that doesn’t relate to the hashtag. You can be seen as a spammer if you use this technique.
  4. Using hashtags when they are not needed
      Just because you can use a hashtag doesn’t mean you need to. Make sure you’re selective on when you should include a hashtag.
  5. Picking the right network for hashtags
      While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest all include the option to use hashtags. Be sure you know your audience. If they don’t understand hashtags, you could be pushing them away by including them.

If you want to see hashtags in action, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon created a hilarious video on using hashtags in real-life that also does a great job illustrating why hashtag etiquette is so important.

While it seems that hashtags are ubiquitous, remember, there is a right time and place for them. The team at Gremln put together this infographic on hashtag etiquette. There are also some great tips on how to use hashtags to get your message across and reach your target audience.

Tips on proper hashtag etiquette

Hashtag etiquette

Do you use hashtags on your social networks? If so, which social networks are you primarily using them on?

Is there a social network that needs better hashtag etiquette? Let me know in the comments below.