To hashtag or not to hashtag?

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With the eyes of the world firmly fixed on South America, brands could be tempted to discuss the event on their social media pages, and perhaps drop a sneaky hashtag to gain some extra coverage. However, organisers are cracking down on how companies can discuss the games.


Brands that aren’t official sponsors of the games are restricted to the hashtags they can use. Some key phrases have been trademarked — but why?

The move has been made to protect the game’s official sponsors — with their hefty investments, organisers must safeguard their best interests and ensure they fully benefit from the exposure the games offer. Allowing non-sponsors to piggyback on the exposure through hashtags would undermine the importance of sponsorship, which could have potentially damning consequences.

However, while this is understandable, many people question how general the hashtags are.

As brands try to navigate the social media minefield, we thought we’d share some tips for hashtagging.

Keep them short

Keeping hashtags short is advised, especially when you’re dealing with Twitter’s 140 character limit. Longer hashtags are more difficult to read too, so keep it short and sweet.

Don’t overuse them

Believe it or not, you can use too many hashtags. Hashtagging every word in your post will disengage your users and give an air of desperation to your posts. Set yourself a limit of two or three relevant hashtags per post


Make them relevant

Nothing makes your brand appear further off the mark than including an irrelevant trending hashtag in a post just to increase its visibility. For example, if you’re a footwear retailer, why are you using the hashtag for Nicki Minaj’s new album?

Users appreciate genuine brands that stick to their image. Users aren’t stupid and they’ll realise that your hashtags are to purely benefit your brand’s visibility, rather than make a valuable contribution to the conversation.

Always read your hashtags before you post!

Sounds obvious? You’ll be amazed how many hashtags have gone wayward. For example, when Margaret Thatcher died, the hashtag #nowthatchersdead started trending. Although it was intended to read ‘now Thatcher’s dead’, the hashtag actually started a rumour that the singer Cher had died, as people saw ‘now that Cher’s dead’.

The fix? Capitalise each word in a hashtag to avoid blunders like this. It makes your hashtags easier to read and underlines exactly what you’re trying to convey.


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