ImageIt goes without saying that if a business has a Twitter account, they’ll probably be including a hashtag in their tweets. Or several hashtags, many of which may be generic keywords to better attract new fans to follow them with (#business #branding #tips), but some will be created specifically for the business, by the business. For some companies, especially those with less hashtag crafting expertise, this fun activity can easily turn stressful if all you have on your mind is the need for trending speed and to go viral in the span of a few hours. What’s a brand fresh to this #PoundSignScene to do? As my own company works on building a hashtag for a contest we have coming up later this month, I picked up a few tips along the way to help your custom made hashtag stand out from the crowd.

1) Conduct research.

While you’ll never be able to trademark a hashtag for your personal use, it’s important to keep an eye out on whether or not the hashtag you have in mind is unique to what the business does and how they do it. The simple way to do this is to type in the hashtag into the search toolbar and see what else shows up and in what capacity. #RulesoftheDunk might sound just right for a basketball team’s account but it’s a hashtag that makes a regular appearance on Oreo’s feed to talk cookies with. You can use that hashtag if you like, but remember that in doing so you might confuse other Twitter users when your “rules of the dunk” don’t include a glass of milk on the side.

2) Integrate your brand’s name (or product) into the mix.

Don’t take this tip too literally, especially if you have a business name that’s pretty long. You don’t have to put your entire brand name into a hashtag and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to concentrate on skimping out on being creative either. Just keep a few small elements in the hashtag that will keep it from being confused with another brand’s. A great example of a company that does this well is Victoria’s Secret with their #AskAnAngel hashtags. Q&As catch the eye when the subject of the chat is identified and in the case of VS, long noted for referring to their models as “angels”, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be sending your tweet questions to a Victoria’s Secret Angel to answer.

3) Keep it on the short side – and easy to read.

Hashtags are at their best when they’re to the point and you have no trouble reading or typing them out. Avoid placing two of the same letters together unless one is capitalized – a hashtag like #letsstoppoverty is slightly better when spelled as #LetsStopPoverty or even shorter at #StopPoverty. Caps go a long way in making the hashtag stand out legibly. Additionally, keep in mind that you can’t include punctuation or Emojis in a hashtag, just in case you were looking to include that thumbs up symbol everywhere you tweet. And while we’re on the topic of everywhere, use your hashtag when it’s most appropriate. You don’t need it in every tweet you send out and it won’t fit into the context of every message either. That only means one thing… time for you and your business to get cracking on making more unique hashtags!

image: twitter symbols/shutterstock