Using Special Characters in Hashtags

by Chris Sheehy | Sidewalk Branding Co.

using an underscore in hashtags - image of hashtag with underscoreHashtags are a great way to index and thread a conversation around a topic or to identify your brand on social as well as on search engines. Following the recent integration of them by Facebook, they have also been getting a lot of attention.

Hashtags are simply a pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase. Spaces are not allowed, so using mixed-case is a common way to add definition to #HashTags.

With all the recent attention hashtags are getting, it is increasingly harder to create unique #hashtags for your posts, ones that not only represents your business or focus, but that also does not include a bunch of spam when viewed as a thread or on search.

Like anything with SEO potential (and hashtags has it), formatting is necessary – and since you can not use spaces to format your tag, working around this limitation does not always produce the best looking or most easily read #tag.

But have you ever wondered about using special characters in hashtags?

A quick search will show thousands of articles and posts proclaiming special characters are not permitted with hashtags – but there is a sole exception to this rule.

The use of an underscore with a #hash_tag is the only permissible exception (for now). And while it does take up valuable character space (think Twitter), it just might be the answer you need to craft unique tags for your business (mine is #sbco_ri) or to differentiate your focus. Best yet, the underscore is universally accepted and recognized on most social and search channels, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google, and Bing.

TIP: Don’t forget to add them to your website too!

So give it a try, create a tag and search for it – when you find one that is unique for you #tag_it_up and own it!


About Chris Sheehy

Chris has been helping businesses increase online leads since 1997. Experienced, published, University SEO course instructor, speaker & presenter. Experience pays dividends - more info at
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