Twitter really got the ball rolling with the use of hashtags and it wasn’t too long before other social media platforms began following suit with their adoption of this method to tag information.

Say what you want about how some people abuse hashtags or how they come across as silly when they’re #almost #every #word #in #the #description but those that understand their best practices can really make them worth their while in terms of:

  • Keep conversations in focus
  • Leveraging trends and buzz
  • Cataloging information

A hashtag can add engagement, humor, emotion, and other feelings, information, and goals to a conversation. Since they’ve caught on there’s no turning back so instead of scoffing at the idea – embrace it and add it to your affiliate marketing tactics.

Here are those best practices for using hashtags (and a few extra resources to wrap your head around their benefits).

The #Hashtag Best Practices

It’s hard to say what truly accounts as best practices for hashtags because they’re still relatively young in terms of their use in social media. Twitter had them for quite some time but now we’re seeing them on many other platforms (like Facebook) where people may not have used them before.

Don’t worry about how others are using them. Focus on yours.

The big items to consider when using the hashtags include:

  • Don’t Abuse. Don’t go overboard with your usage of #’s. Try to keep it to less than three tags if you are sharing information or a single hashtag if it’s a sentence. Pick out the most valuable keyword for what you’re sharing and make it the hashtag (and only that one). This will keep things clean and won’t have you come across as a tween just discovering Instagram and tagging.
  • Consider Branding. Pick a tag you can get on board with your brand. It doesn’t have to be the businesses name or even its products. It can be something that inspires, humors, motivates, or empowers the individual. This type of hashtag you claim can drive engagement and buzz. Your brand will go along for the ride as it begins to pick up momentum.
  • Develop a Conversation (and Audience). Following those same lines as the effort you’d put into developing a brandable hashtag – you should do the same when it comes to targeting your audience and creating conversations (see our overview in our post on Twitter conversations). By choosing (or latching onto) a hashtag you can keep information condensed an on-topic for the community which becomes a great channel for questions, comments, inquiries, and feedback. This use of a branded hashtag (for conversations) can do wonders for building momentum behind your community which then trickles to other benefits such as increasing the chances of information being shared, building buzz around a launch, and more.
  • Experiment. Take the use of hashtags out of the social sphere and into the wild. Try using them as part of your print campaigns or T.V. ad spots. Have employees wear shirts with your branded hashtags when they’re running around town. Give away stickers, mousepads, and other office swag during conventions with your claimed hashtag. Use them kind of like you would with targeted testing. Go with a hashtag that’s only used in a post card campaign and track the engagement – so on and so forth. You get the idea.

Sounds fairly basic, right?

That’s because it all boils down to being considerate to your community and trying to keep it professional in your industry. You don’t want to go too far overboard with hashtag usage but you should certainly try to tie it into your work.

As long as you’re not overloading your information with these tags you will be on track to using them effectively.

Extra #Hashtag Resources

For additional resources about hashtags, best practices, and their usage – take a look at these posts:

The Power of the Hashtag [Infographic] – A great overview of hashtags as explained through the use of an infographic.

Hashtag Best Practices: What Your Brand Needs to Know – Additional best practice tips and tricks for getting the most from these tags.

The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag – An entry level guide to using hashtags including examples of some of the biggest brands doing great work.

Hashtag basics: Connect to customers on social media – An insightful video that gives a visual overview of what is possible with the use of hashtags.

Your turn – what do you think of hashtags? How have you put them into effect? Share your comment in the comment section below or join us on our Facebook page to engage with others in the World of affiliate marketing and online business.