The Art of Social Media Posting: #Hashtags

As a recruitment process outsourcing firm that stands on the frontier of recruiting, we like to christen all new Kinetix employees with a healthy dose of social media training. The two social media we most heavily focus on are LinkedIn and Twitter, and part of the training involves asking whether or not the trainees know certain words and definitions that are associated with each. When we get to hashtags there‚Äôs usually a general consensus: they know what hashtags look like, but they don‚Äôt really know what they are.

On this edition of The Art of Social Media Posting we‚Äôre talking hashtags, and not just what they look like, but what they actually are and how to best use them.

At its most basic definition, a hashtag is a pound sign (#) that precedes a word or grouping of words. Most people get that part. When you go a little deeper, the idea behind a hashtag is to identify your tweet as part of specific topic that‚Äôs being discussed by others. Hashtags are used on plenty of social media sites to do this job of grouping your post in with other similar posts, but its origins are on Twitter, as well as one of the more popular places of use.

Because hashtags make your tweets more searchable, it should come as no surprise that you will get two times more engagement from a tweet that contains hashtags than from one that contains no hashtags.

Armed with this deeper understanding of hashtags, you may be ready to take to Twitter and join all the conversations with tweets like this:


Please don’t.

Tweets like this one above are the physical incarnation of this conversation between Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake:

Annoying, right?

While hashtags are a great way to get more engagement, all good things have their limit. While you are likely to get twice as much engagement from a tweet with hashtags, these numbers fall drastically when your number of hashtags per tweet exceeds two—a by drastically, we mean a 17% decrease in engagement.

Now that you‚Äôve got your sweet spot of how many hashtags to use, it‚Äôs time to learn the cardinal rules of hashtag etiquette:

  1. #ThisIsTooHardToReadIsntIt? That‚Äôs why you keep it short. Short and sweet, ideally. For example, if you are trying to promote your company‚Äôs culture, rather than use #OurCompanyCulture go for something along the lines of our company‚Äôs #KinetixTalent
  2. Pick the conversations you want to enter. The narrower, the better as long as you don‚Äôt make it so narrow that no one would be searching for it in the first place. If you are tweeting about a job, rather than use #job or #applynow go for the specific title that you‚Äôre seeking, such as #SoftwareDeveloper or #DevOps
  3. If you have the space, put your hashtags at the end rather than within your tweet. The reason for this is simple: hashtags can become a distraction to your message. Because they are simply tagging your tweet as part of a bigger conversation, they don‚Äôt need to be front-and-center. But if you don‚Äôt have space to fit them in at the end, make sure to still include them within the tweet. As the data shows of 2x more engagement if they are present, it would be better to risk minor distractions than to not include them at all.

As with most social media posting, the more you use hashtags the better feel you‚Äôll have of what works and what doesn‚Äôt. Stick around for more social media how-tos with our recurring series The Art of Social Media Posting. 

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