It’s one of the most powerful tools in search. It’s the hashtag, #, above the numeral 3 on your keyboard, an easy way to help people find your valuable content.
A few days ago, I had a frustrating experience with AT&T’s customer service and wanted to share it with the world in a tweet, hoping AT&T monitors Twitter and might contact me.
But I was in such a big hurry that my fingers were typing faster than my brain was thinking. After I tweeted, I realized my mistake and knew immediately it made me look like a dweeb:
- Hashtags that include almost every symbol or punctuation mark like question marks, exclamation marks and periods will render the hashtag useless. (Update: In the previous sentence, I added the word “almost” just now because I discovered you can, in fact, use an underscore, the only symbol that will work within a hashtag.)
- I should have typed #ATTfail. In the Twitter universe, the word “fail” is universal for “bad customer service.”
Here then, are seven hashtag mistakes to avoid:
1. Don’t use symbols or punctuation.
2. Don’t use letters or numbers in front of the hashtag, like this: 7Tips#PublicityHound
3. Don’t use a hashtag with all numerals, like this: #456
4. Don’t spam by sprinkling hashtags throughout the entire tweet, like this:
#Authors, #speakers and #experts can get #freepublicity if they #pitchreporters correctly and have good #storyideas and #pressreleases.
5. Don’t steal someone else’s hashtag and use it if the content of your tweet is unrelated. It’s unethical, and people can call you on it publicly.
6. Don’t write overly long hashtags: #UseTheseHelpfulTipsIfYouWantGreatPublicity
7. Don’t end up on the Hashtag Wall of Shame with a hastily created hashtag that can be read two ways. Example: The hashtag #Susanalbumparty to promote Susan Boyle’s new album.
Hashtag Training Tomorrow
Hashtag mistakes are only a small slice of what you need to know if you want to use them correctly. Join me for a webinar I’m hosting tomorrow from 4 to 5:15 Eastern Time on Thursday, Nov. 7, for “How to Use Hashtags, the New Search Tool.”
The webinar will give you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, on how to use the tiny symbol that has already become one of the most powerful marketing tools.
What confused you about hashtags? Have you used a hashtag to fill seats at an event, promote your brand or build an audience?