You’ve got a spare five minutes to spend on social media marketing. What should you do? #CapitaliseAHashtag.
Hashtags have gained popularity due to their ability to organise content and enhance engagement, communication, promotion, and expression in social media marketing. But they are not always easy to read.
Capitalising the first letter of a word in a hashtag serves a functional and readability purpose. Let’s take a look.
Why should you use capital letters in hashtags?
Proper capitalisation improves accessibility for people with visual impairments who may use screen readers. Screen readers often pronounce capitalised words separately, making the content more understandable. – it’s the right thing to do and will help your campaigns reach more people.
Hashtags are often used to convey a specific message or theme. Capitalising the first letter of each word makes it easier for users to read and understand the hashtag’s meaning. Proper capitalisation makes longer hashtags easier to decipher, especially if they contain multiple words. For example: #thisisalonghashtagthatisdifficulttoread #ThisIsALongHashtagThatIsEasierToRead
Capitalisation helps distinguish between individual words within a multi-word hashtag. Words can blend together without capitalisation, potentially changing the intended message or making it harder to interpret.
4: Branding & Aesthetics
Capitalising the first letter of each word in a hashtag can make it visually appealing and help it stand out. This is especially relevant when users are trying to promote a specific brand like Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign or a cause such as Always’ #LikeAGirl, where they took the term “like a girl” away from suggesting weakness by showing young girls who were uninfluenced by society’s expectations, turning it into a hashtag of strength.
Following a consistent capitalisation style in hashtags makes it easier for others to adopt and use the same format. This can lead to higher visibility and engagement for the hashtag. For example, #bigcheeseweekender vs. #BigCheeseWeekender
While capitalisation doesn’t affect the functionality of a hashtag (as they are not case-sensitive on most social media platforms), it can make the hashtag more readable and memorable, indirectly impacting its searchability and discoverability.
Including capitalisation in hashtags makes incorporating them into sentences easier, maintaining context (#AsOpposedTo including them as footnotes in tweets and posts) – especially when it consists of multiple words.
On the other hand…
OK, there’s a caveat that using lowercase letters where the #hashtag is a single word makes it look more like a conventional sentence fragment or commentary within the text. But #single word #hashtags, more often than not, cover too broad a topic.
What if I don’t use capital letters in hashtags?
Not convinced? Check out these infamous examples of hashtag bloopers that could have been avoided by capitalising the first letter of each word.
This hashtag was famously misinterpreted due to the lack of proper capitalisation and spacing. #susanalbumparty It was intended to promote Susan Boyle’s album release party (#SusanAlbumParty), but the lack of spacing between “Susan” and “Album” led to a humorous and unintended interpretation.
Another famous one, #nowthatchersdead: This hashtag emerged after the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A good (or bad) example of how combining words without using capital letters in hashtags in place of spacing (#NowThatChersDead) led to confusion and unintended interpretations (some readers read it as “Now that Cher’s dead”).
Have you got any examples of #HashtagsGoneWrong? Add a comment and let us know.
Related Hashtag FAQs
Do capital letters in hashtags matter?
Yes and no! In functional terms, hashtags are generally not case-sensitive, meaning capitalisation does not affect how the hashtag works or how it’s used for searching on platforms like Twitter (X), Instagram or Facebook. That said, adhering to the convention of capitalising the first letter of each word can contribute to the overall effectiveness of the hashtag in conveying its intended message and encouraging engagement.
Can you use numbers in hashtags?
Yes, but make sure that you include letters. If you write #1 or #123, the hashtag will not be hyperlinked and is therefore not searchable. However, the hashtag will work correctly if you include letters following the numbers in the hashtag, for example, #123go.
Why #AccessibilityMatters on social media?
At least 20% of the population is estimated to have a long-term illness, impairment, or disability. Many more people experience temporary or situational health conditions that affect their ability to comprehend information due to cognitive impairments or sight or hearing difficulties. Inaccessible social media campaigns risk alienating audiences, reducing impact and breaching key legislation in Public Sector organisations.