Attending The Social Shake-up in Atlanta this week? Send us a note if you'd like to meet up at the event.

Enhancing Your Twitter Strategy: 5 Hashtag Mistakes to Learn From

Oh, the wonderful world of Twitter, where you have 140 characters to prove your worth. Fortunately, there are hashtags that can add depth to your twitter strategy, or horribly take away from your cause. Use with caution. Hashtags can make or break you.

#1 – Use capitals

Susan Boyle learned a valuable lesson. Your hashtags have to use capitals. Her album release party and it’s hashtag of #susanalbumparty quickly became known for something entirely different. Some people speculate that it was actually a genius ploy by Boyle’s team to gain trending status. While that might be true, it’s still not okay, and this is a perfect example of why proofreading is so very important. With capitals, it would have read as #SusanAlbumParty. Completely different party.

Susan Boyle Twitter

#2 – Research before you hashtag

The Aurora Colorado tragedy was bad enough, but when you get something trending on Twitter, people are going to misuse it. Our best advice is to research what you’re about to hashtag before you actually use it. A clothing boutique decided to tweet about the trending #Aurora but not to pay respect to the people that lost their lives. Instead, they chose to recognize a dress inspired by Kim Kardashian.

Celeb Boutique 

#3 – Be careful with abbreviations

Sure, we all have to fit our tweets into that silly little 140 character box before the dreaded red negative numbers, but there’s something to be said for checking your abbreviations before you let loose with a hashtag that gives a different intention. For example, a yoga company launched a photo campaign called “What the Focus September.” Personally, I think that should have read “What’s the Focus” but they’re going for a play on words. It worked. Suddenly #WTFSept popped up all over Twitter, but not for the yoga studio. Instead, people were posting their hatred for the month of September. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with that month, but a lot of people found a lot of reasons to hate it.

 what's the focus



#4 – Don’t put anything out there that you don’t want people to comment on

McDonalds really messed up with their campaign “McDStories.” Their intentions were to have a collection of stories from customers about how much they love McDonalds. Maybe they didn’t realize that they don’t exactly have the best public brand and that pretty awful things have been found in their food. Their campaign failed miserably and was stopped within two hours.



#5 – Don’t get political

Social media has become the ultimate political area (can’t we all just agree that enough is enough?) but there are some things that just don’t need to be said via Twitter and hashtags. A KitchenAid social media employee forgot to logout of the company Twitter account and into her personal one before posting an Anti-Obama rant. It went on the company’s account and we can only assume it cost her the job. Best practice is to just not get political.


Use Twitter with caution. Learn how to put hashtags in your tweets, and avoid the mistakes of these brands.

What's your vision on marketing through Twitter? Any real good experience you wanted to share? Please use the comments below.


Join The Conversation

  • EDirections's picture
    Nov 16 Posted 3 years ago EDirections

    Another mistake many Twitter users make when including hashtags with their tweets is including punctuation.  Using commas, periods, apostrophes, etc. within said hashtags breaks up the word or term meant for hashtagging (is that a word?) and becomes garbled nonsense.  If Twitter would alert users to remove puncuation from their hashtags before hitting that wonderful "Tweet" button, the Twitterverse would be a much happier (and cleaner) place!

    By the way, nice article!

  • May 11 Posted 4 years ago sopularity

    Interesting post!

    When you do not know which hashtag to use for your tweet, you may use the sopularity app. Sopularity will help you to add the most appropriate hashtags to your tweets. This will lead to a significant increase of the searchability and popularity of your tweets.

  • Helen Nesterenko's picture
    Apr 2 Posted 4 years ago Helen Nesterenko

    Rosemary, right you are! Will include this point in the list next time :-)

  • RosemaryONeill's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 4 years ago RosemaryONeill

    Another hazard to avoid is inadvertently intruding on a weekly Twitter chat.

    If you tweet using a hashtag that is commonly used for a weekly chat, make sure you aren't tweeting DURING the chat timeframe. Your tweet will appear clueless and annoying to those participating in the chat stream...especially if it's a self-promotional tweet.

  • Helen Nesterenko's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 4 years ago Helen Nesterenko

    Amanda, thanks for your comment. I think we need to be careful with our instruments - including hashtags and mentions. Though it's good we have them to find Tweets and posts by topics. Wise use is what we need to follow.

  • Helen Nesterenko's picture
  • Amanda Socci's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 4 years ago Amanda Socci

    I love the research in this Twitter post. I've known for a long time that people donot use Twitter hashtags appropriately, but I was unaware of how major companies have misused them. I particularly enjoyed the McDonald's example - wow!

  • Helen Nesterenko's picture
    Mar 29 Posted 4 years ago Helen Nesterenko

    Good luck! Will be happy to see what you have come up with :-)

  • Sally@Toddlers on Tour's picture
    Mar 28 Posted 4 years ago Toddlers on Tour

    Thanks Helen,

    After reading your article I can see the difference of using capitals to define your words.  Plus checking how that phrase is used else where.

    I am about to do some research now on my key hastag phrases.


  • gsimon818's picture
    Mar 28 Posted 4 years ago gsimon818

    Great piece, good advice based on some real experiences. Cheers! 

    I know hashtags originated on Twitter, but it'll be interesting to see how they are used on FB if they get implemented there, and how people are using them on G+ as well. The similarities, differences and if trending hashtags match up across platforms at all.


  • Helen Nesterenko's picture
    Mar 26 Posted 4 years ago Helen Nesterenko

    Thanks, Rayna! I totally agree with this one. At the end of the day, Twitter is not about many words at all.

  • Rayna Remondini's picture
    Mar 25 Posted 4 years ago Rayna Remondini

    Great article, Helen!  I thought to add another #hashtag hazard, which is:

    Believe me, "No one is taking the time to read those, much less click the hyperlink. You can lose followers with this Twitter nonsense.

Webinars On Demand

  • May 09, 2017
    With all of the technologies available to marketers today, have we lost that personal touch? Join VP of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark Bornste...
  • April 05, 2017
    In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, operational efficiency, quick turn-around times, testing and adapting to change are crucial to...