Kansas State University



Hashtag best practices

hashtagAs the world of social media continues to change, the popularity of hashtags has proven to be less of a trend and more of a necessity. At K-State we are using hashtags to fuel social media marketing campaigns. Social media posts, including hashtags, drives more engagement, curates a story or event and taps into trends.

Take your hashtag campaign from average to viral and see our hashtag best practice guide below.

1.) Do your research. Before choosing a hashtag research using a website such as  https://www.hashtags.org. Avoid competition and dominate your hashtag by selecting one not in use.

2.) Content is King. You’ve got a great hashtag now what? Make your hashtag stand out with great content. Mix in video, text and image posts. Create informative and quality content that will engage your audience. Be sure to tag appropriate accounts in posts to gain more visibility and possibly garner a retweet from key influencers.

3.) Make it visually appealing. Promote your hashtag by adding the hashtag to photos, graphics, videos or any material you are sharing. This includes any tangible marketing materials such as brochures and fliers.

4.) Less is more. Resist using too many hashtags, it just looks spammy. As a rule of thumb, use only two to three hashtags per post. Research and use related and relevant hashtags.

5.) Make it memorable. Use catchy words that are easy to recall and avoid using personal pronouns. It is best for your hashtag to fit well into a post instead of adding it to the end of a post. Test how the hashtag reads by drafting a few social media posts.

Here’s an example from a recent K-State campaign: “Happy almost Valentine’s Day, ! Use the hashtag to tell everyone why you !”

6.) Grammar and spelling count. Watch usage of abbreviations. Capitalization is your friend. It helps with readability. Overall, correct spelling and grammar gives any social media account credibility.

7.) Be consistent. Promote your hashtags across social media channels.  Inform other social media account coordinators about promotions and provide information for them to share your campaign message. Consider creating a social media guide including prepared messaging, images and campaign overview.  Here’s a great example of a social media guide for World Cancer Day.

8.) Keep it short. Make it your hashtag “Tweetable.” You want people to be able to fit the hashtag into a 140 character tweet. As a rule of thumb, stick to 8-12 characters. Consider making the tweet a call to action.

9.) Monitor the use of the hashtag by using a tool like https://tagboard.com. Tagboard is a great tool because it allows you to block negative posts or accounts using your hashtag.

10.) Curate. Use a hashtag aggregator like https://tagboard.com to encourage people to join the social media conversation and also see their posts displayed. There is a presentation mode to showcase posts during a live event. You can also embed the tag board on to a website. Here’s an example of a tagboard embedded on a website.

* Extra tips! 

Where do hashtags work? 

Hashtags are searchable links on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Google +, Pinterest and YouTube. Hashtags do not work on LinkedIn.

Three common hashtag types. 

Content hashtags are related to your post content. Ex: #KState #What2doatKSU #MyKStateVisit #KStateWOW

Event hashtags are related to a specific event. Ex: #KStateSOU #KStateWOW #KStateOpenHouse. Try not to use a date or year in the hashtag. This way you will be able to use the hashtag in years to come.

Location hashtags are specific geo-targeted hashtags to promote your posts to a certain area. Ex: #KState #MHK #KansasCity

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