Inspired by the recent National Dance Day on Saturday, July 26th, I have decided to reflect upon the social media habits one of my favorite reality shows, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).

Over the last 11 seasons, SYTYCD has accumulated quite a following on Twitter with well over 200,000 followers. Personally, I have enjoyed the integration of social and TV for this show. Each season, the show ensures every contestant has a Twitter handle, which allows users to get to know the contestants better; I can tweet about my favorite dances or dancers (with the potential of them tweeting back at me) and get a more engaging experience with the show. Years later, I still find myself following old contestants through their successes of reaching Broadway or seeing them as back-up dancers for a variety of artists.

Only this season hasn’t been the same – social is being forced on me by trying to insert it into every aspect of the show, whether it is appropriate or not.

In the screenshots below there are four examples from this season of how SYTYCD has inserted social elements into their show. And to me, there is only one example of social integration I believe is unobtrusive and provides a positive social and TV relationship.

Can you guess which one it is?

1. Including a judge’s Twitter handle on screen
2. Including #InsaneFlips for a contestant who used flips, but didn’t make it through the next round
3. Including #AGBWonDance AND #SYTYCD for when A Great Big World performed on the show
4. Including #WerkIt for a contestant on the show who did not use the phrase at any point

Before you make your final decision, remember the definition of a hashtag: “(on social-networking websites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.” (Dictionary.com)

You’re right – the best example is number 1 (and if you guessed a different one…please keep reading this post.)
This example gives a simple outlet for the viewers to know who to tweet about through the rest of the episode, and even the season. The other examples (2 through 4), while valiant efforts for social engagement, did not adhere to the proper use of the #Hashtag. And to be fair, it isn’t only SYTYCD that has fallen into these terrible hashtag habits.

For this reason, I think it is time we sat down and chatted about the appropriate way to insert hashtags into your social strategy.

Behold, the 5 Golden Rules for Hashtag Etiquette:

1. Resist Using #Too #Many #Hashtags: Using too many hashtags can make it difficult to follow the conversation it is supposed to influence and can disrupt the engagement you are trying to facilitate with your fans. SYTYCD tried using a hashtag every chance they had throughout the show with example 3 even having two on the screen at once.

Simply stated: it is best to keep to one hashtag. For example, we recently talked about Mashable’s Social Media Day. Despite being held all over the country, and talking about a variety of topics, they used #SMDay as their main hashtag to bring all the information into one search on Twitter.

2. Don’t Tweet Unrelated Hashtags #Unicorn: It is important to give your hashtags some thought. The hashtag is supposed to be a tool to enhance your social strategy and give your fans a way to talk to you and other fans about interesting topics you are providing. Tweeting unrelated hashtags (like SYTYCD’s #WerkIt or #InsaneFlips) could potentially have your tweet get lost amongst others using this hashtag, or be misinterpreted as discussing another topic.
So be mindful and creative. For example, for this article I can use #TwitterEtiquette, and while people may not be discussing hashtags, this article is now inserted into the conversation for people who want to know how to use Twitter properly, so it is still related!

3. Keep Your Hashtags Short: #IfYouDoSomethingLikeThis, your fans could get confused on your topic (like #AGBWonDance). Remember, you only have 140 characters, make them count.

4. Be Careful with the Capitalization of Hashtags:  While you may capitalize your hashtags in a certain way for them to be read, like the creation of #NowThatchersDead when the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher passed, you have to remember people are more often than not lazy about their grammar on social. People will forego the capitalization (#nowthatchersdead) to lead to misreadings (#NowThatChersDead).
Just be sure to write your longer hashtags out in multiple ways before publishing. This can save your PR team a headache and a half, and keep your fans from causing the world hysteria. In which case, this may be the most important one to follow.

5. Utilize the Power of the Hashtag: While the previous rules may scare you away from attempting to use hashtags – don’t let them! Hashtags are a wonderful and powerful tool that can boost your tweet from being average to being great. Coming up with a quirky and unique hashtag can lead you to viral success or a campaign you can reuse in the future!

 

So go forth and use this #HashtagEtiquette with confidence in every tweet you tweet or Instagram post you post. And feel free to ask us any further questions in the comments!

About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech.

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