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
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.