5 Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Social Media

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The following are two of his recommended five best practices on using hashtags as presented by Hugh McIntyre in a Sonicbids blog on September 8, 2014.

Hashtags may seem like a silly bit of social media (and sometimes that’s exactly what they are), but they do serve an important purpose. They help people see what’s going on and what some of the big topics of discussion are. They can also be useful in finding out who’s interested in a certain topic or event. If you’re lucky enough to get your hashtag trending, it can quickly snowball until even those who have never heard of whatever the hashtag pertains to are sucked into the conversation. While hashtags are typically pretty straightforward, here are five best practices to follow if you want to use them effectively.

1. Keep them short

Sometimes when someone uses a hashtag, they’re just having a bit of fun and not really trying to get something to trend. If a friend posts a picture of the crowd at his or her show using a hashtag like #icantbelieveigettodothiseverynight, chances are he or she isn’t really looking for people to use it – at least we hope.

If you actually want your followers (and others) to use your hashtag, it needs to be short. In fact, the shorter the better. Hashtags are used most frequently on Twitter, which, of course, limits tweets to 140 characters. If your tag is very short, people will be able to actually say something sustantial while still joining the conversation. But if your tag takes up a quarter of their available characters, people will either ignore it, not add anything of value, or get frustrated as they try to fit their tweet alongside it, and, ultimately, give up. It’s best to keep things short and sweet.

2. Make them relevant

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many bands and brands forget that even some of their biggest fans may not be plugged into everything that’s going on. For example, I recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel during a big event. They posted a few hashtags they wanted guests to use. Some, like #HardRock or #HardRockChicago, made perfect sense. Another hashtag was #SoundofYourStay, which alluded to a program Hard Rock Hotels have around the world in which guests can order equipment to their rooms, such as a mixing board or a guitar. If I were staying at the hotel and already had no idea this existed, does anyone really think a random connection of mine on Twitter will be familiar with it? In today’s world, chances are followers will not take the time to research what the tag means, and, while it’s certainly a cool program, a long hashtag isn’t the best way to promote it.

Next week we’ll discuss the other three best practices then I think we’ll switch gears from social media for a while and talk some more about how the vast majority of people still discover new music….and that would be on their radio dial.

Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog “Pop! Bang! Boom!” which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.

Stay tuned,

Joe Kelly

VP/GM CDX

615.292.0123 ext. 25

joe@cdxcd.com

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