The purpose of a hashtag is to segment the firehouse of information that comes from a live Twitter feed when you follow more than 10 people. For example, hashtags can help people find career information when the title of the article doesn’t have the keyword “career” in it. Somehow, as Twitter has grown the purpose of the hashtag has been forgotten.
Lets start this with a little quiz. Here are 2 tweets. Pick the hashtag abuse:
A) Breaking News I’m presenting ideas #HRn #Vegas and so is #HRchat it’s kind of like #FoShizzle #hrtechnology look forward ;-)
B) How do you send a power tweet that increases #engagement by 400%? #Blogging
The answer? A.
Is that hashtag abuse? #FoShizzle (offense #1). Why?
The answer is probably best explained with my hashtag rules
- Use hashtags for event names.Use hashtags to tell people you’re tweeting as a part of a live Twitter chat or an event. And yes, the event name is always the better option for a hashtag over the location name.
- Your sentences should make sense. Your sentences still need to make sense while you’re using a hashtag. If the keywords you want to mention really don’t fit in the sentence, put them at the end of the tweet after the link.
- #NoHashtagConversations. #writingawholesentencewithnopuntuationandputtingahashtagatthebeginning? I’ve done this. It can be funny for 1 tweet. Do it all the time? Abuse.
- No punctuation. Punctuation in a hashtag? It doesn’t work. The second you throw an apostrophe in, hashtags aren’t searchable by the whole phrase. #that’sright shows up as: #that + plain text: ‘sright
- Think general, not specific. Good tag: #jobsearch. Bad tag: #thesissentence. People who are searching Twitter are looking for a type of information, not a specific answer. If they want a specific answer, they’ll Google it.
I’m sure there are more. Add your rules to the list in a comment below. I’ll update the list to reflect all of our rules. Maybe a 10 Commandments of Hashtags? #Blasphemy
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.