Creating Hashtags and Making Them Useful on Twitter

Guidelines for Creating Hashtags

Hashtag over collage of smiling faces
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Since no rules or protocols apply to creating hashtags on Twitter or using them, their use can be chaotic at times, with the same tag classifying many unrelated tweets and conversations.

Event organizers and marketers face a constant challenge in crafting a good hashtag (Hashtags defined: What are hashtags?) for their conversations on Twitter.

A little research and a few guidelines can help make the use of any hashtag more successful.

Four Guidelines for Choosing Twitter Hashtags

Four basic guidelines to follow in choosing and creating Twitter hashtags are to keep them as simple, unique, easy to remember and narrowly focused as possible.


  1. The shorter, the better. A hashtag should be short so it will use up fewer of the 280 characters that Twitter allots for each tweet. Abbreviations are commonly used in hashtags for that reason -- #socmedia for social media, for example, or #socap for social capital. In general, it's good to avoid using hashtags with more than 10 characters.
  2. The more unique, the better. Using a unique hashtag for your Twitter conversation means that when people search on your tag, they'll likely find only related tweets and not be bombarded with off-topic tweets mixed in with yours. To determine how any tag you are contemplating using is already being used, check out some of the third-party tools for researching hashtags on Twitter.
  3. The narrower the focus, the better. Narrowing the focus of your keyword to exactly what you want to discuss on Twitter will help make conversations around your hashtag more useful to people. If you're talking mostly about bulimia, use #bulimia, not #eatingdisorders.
  4. The more memorable, the better. It helps when a hashtag is easy to remember, so if you're not using a familiar single word, try to find a catchy phrase or intuitive abbreviation for your topic. For social activism, an example would be the easy-to-remember #dogood. For the TV show "Dancing with the Stars," the hashtag #dwts is a no-brainer; to remember that hashtag, all anyone has to do is remember the show name and abbreviate it.