3 hashtag etiquette tips when prospecting for B2B leads on Twitter
Written by Becky Armstrong
Mar 23 2015
The world of hashtags can be confusing.
Knowing what hashtags to use, where to use them and how, especially when it comes to increasing reach and building B2B leads, is hard. But whether you’re an experienced or newbie hashtagger, there are best practice rules and common Twitter etiquette you can follow.
To help you create better B2B Tweets, reach more relevant prospects and engage in more meaningful social conversations, here are 3 of our top hashtag etiquette tips for Twitter.
3 B2B hashtag do’s and don’ts
Don’t overuse hashtags
Think of a hashtag as a door into a room full of people discussing a topic.
The best Tweets are the ones containing hashtags that clearly lead people to the discussions they want, maybe offering one or two ‘door’ options relevant to your content. What you don’t want to do is present people with too many options.
A #tweet #full of #hashtags looks #complicated - plus it detracts from your specific message, and presents a ‘hallway’ of options, rather than a clear route to relevant prospect engagement.
Best hashtag etiquette is to include no more than two hashtags per Tweet; Twitter’s own best practice guidelines recommend that you “Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.) Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.”
Keep your hashtags short, relevant and well formatted
Hashtags are indicators, signaling the key focus of your Tweet and any linked content.
There are many uses for hashtags, for example; events or conferences (#Inbound15), news stories (#SanDiegoFire*), or to give context (‘Can’t wait to learn more! #AppleLive’).
We’ve already listed some great hashtag research tools to help locate your top hashtags. Best practice is to keep them relevant to your niche and content. It may also help to think outside the box; don’t just use obvious terms, find and test new ones, and always review what works for you.
Remember to keep the amount of hashtags in a Tweet to a minimum; the same goes for character count. Tweets are already limited in length - if you can convey relevance in one or two words (#B2BMarketing) it’s better, more readable and more searchable than a character consuming tag (#B2BMarketingAdvice).
Got a hashtag that’s not working? There are formatting rules you need to follow for hashtags to appear correctly. Symbols, punctuation, spaces, as well as numbers on their own will not be created as complete hashtags. Examples of hashtags that won’t work include:
# HashtagTips - Twitter will not recognise this due to the space.
#It’sABadHashtag - This will break at the punctuation and just show as ‘#It’
3#HashtagTips - Numbers or words ahead of the ‘#’ prevent it from working. You must precede hashtags with a space.
#321- Hashtags cannot include numbers alone. They will not be hyperlinked or searchable. ‘#321HashtagTips’ would work however.
Proof your Tweets before you post!
Create your own hashtags and promote them across channels
If you use a consistent hashtag across your social channels, at events, or attached to any of your content (such as on webinars) it enhances consistency and builds credibility - especially if you created the hashtag yourself, or if it contains your brand name.
If you do create a hashtag (for example ‘MyBrandEvent’), remember that you don’t own or control it. Other Twitter users could manipulate it away from your intentions. For that reason, try to use phrases or acronyms that are difficult to place out of context - the last thing you want is for your hashtag to be abused.
Check the meaning of hashtags you create on hashtagdictionary.com ahead of implementing them. This can help you uncover any alternative meanings, or see if the hashtag has been used before. Not ready to create your own hashtags yet? Remember you can use other hashtags you find as long as they are relevant, and you can contribute to the conversation being had.
Don't be afraid to try new things
The best way to learn about hashtag use is to go out there, post at the best times to tweet for your business, and review what works for you. Don’t be afraid - get hashtagging, and engage with your prospects!
*#SanDiegoFire was one of the first hashtags to popularise widespread community use. Created in 2007 by Nate Ritter, it helped Twitter users track his updates relating to the San Diego forest fires disaster. The very first hashtag also appeared in 2007.