Who would have ever thought that hashtags would become such a fundamental part of modern-day society, at least the one that exists online. Heck, even a baby was rumored to be named “Hashtag” last fall. Sometimes, we see these fast fads become misused or overused, and this can be the case with hashtags. Knowing how, when and where to use these symbols is important to your Twitter marketing strategy.


The hashtag symbol first started being used back in 2007 in an effort to group together stories and events. Twitter is the platform where you’ll find hashtags the most, but other social media sites are joining in as well, including Instagram and Google+. Research shows that posts that include hashtags have a higher like-to-follower ratio compared to those that don’t, which may have you wondering, should I be using hashtags, too?



From an online marketing standpoint, anything that drives more traffic to your tweets should be utilized. Yet there is an art to everything, as you don’t want to overuse the purpose of hashtags and drive your followers nuts. This can happen, too.



When posting a tweet, think about what keywords are important. Is there an event or topic that people may be searching for? Is there a Twitter conversation going on that you want to join in on? The goal of hashtags is help find your target audience, participate in chats based on shared interests and bring in new followers. If your tweet accomplishes this, then by all means, give those important keywords a #hashtag.



Now, it’s important to know that just because you use a hashtag doesn’t mean your tweet will all of a sudden be more effective. Only 24 percent of tweets include a hashtag, and there is a 21 percent higher engagement rate when hashtags are included. However, there is a 17 percent decrease in engagement when tweets have more than two hashtags.



The best tactic is to use these symbols when you want to be part of an online conversation, or when you want to drive new followers to your tweet based on a relevant topic or event. Limit how many hashtags are in your tweet, and be sure to include plenty of other tweets that are hashtag-less. More isn’t always better, and in this case, it’s important to make the balance.