Hashtag Etiquette Checklist: 5 Things Your Hashtag Should Never Be

January 21, 2014
When using hashtags, learn about the basic rules and things to avoid. You can maintain your followers and gain more by practicing social media etiquette. Hashtags can be ignored or even hijacked if you do not follow the correct principles. Here are some of the things that you should refrain from doing when creating hashtags.

1. An avenue for grievances

Some hashtags were initially intended by creators to invite positive energy and encourage people to share their good experiences with the company. However, trolls can immediately attack the hashtag and push others to do the complete opposite, sharing their worst experiences and other complaints for hundreds of others to see. The same instance happened with McDonald?s with #McDStories. The supposedly positive campaign drew a lot of flak from unhappy clients.

2. Insensitive

Although it is expected that your hashtag stays updated with the latest trends and developments in the industry and stays abreast with global issues, you have to be careful not to be insensitive about bad and traumatic events. Some companies tried to capitalize on the widespread news about calamities and shootings happening in various parts of the world. Instead of showing concern, hashtags were made to push products, which immediately caused social media users to hijack it.

3. Poorly chosen keywords

Spend a lot of time thinking about the right keywords to use in the hashtag. The hashtag must contain two or more keywords that will adequately describe the topic and separate it from others belonging in the same field. Use proper spelling, capitalization and spelling. Add the year and serial number as necessary. Avoid hashtagging too many words in your posts. Look for one or two more related hashtags then use these as necessary.

4. The wrong call to action

Hashtags should generally invite people to act and participate in the activities. However, avoid making the topic or statement too broad, which will ultimately inspire trolls to make fun of the message. The hashtag #WaitroseReasons had a unique experience when it asked users to tweet and fill in the blanks of the statement, ?I shop at Waitrose because?? The hashtag immediately drew a variety of tweets ranging from funny to outright sarcastic.

5. A profane word

Hashtags should be carefully made and the words used to describe and complete it must be properly selected so as not to mean something else. Many companies in the past used the wrong words which led people to get a completely different message or even view it as a profane statement. You can immediate ruin your reputation by failing to check how the words look together. When you discover making major hashtag mistakes, you can rectify the problem by immediately apologizing and giving a brief explanation. Avoid entertaining trolls and, instead, remove the hashtag as soon as possible. Plan for the next hashtag campaign properly then review the advantages and disadvantages of your previous works. Look for allies in the business who can improve the quality of your tweets as well as invite relevant users to the conversation.

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