Monday 15 October, 2012
Twitter’s hashtags are labels for groups and topics. The symbol ‘#’ is called a hash, and hence the name hashtag. The hash comes before the word or phrase and there are no spaces. A few examples of hashtags would be #dogs, #billmaher, #inboundchat, and #makingmoneywithtwitter. You can basically think of a hashtag as Twitter’s version of a keyword.
Hashtags are all about organizing information for you. They make it easy to follow a topic. They’re also used for searches just like keywords in search engines. There are usually hashtags for trending topics and Twitter has a sidebar that shows you what the most popular are, which makes them great for marketers.
Using Hashtags in Your Posts
If you see a hashtag in a post, you can click it and see other posts with that tag. You can also use your own hashtags anywhere in your tweets. Twitter recommends not using more than two. The reason is that when spammers got hip to hashtags a few years ago, they started tagging every single word. If you use a bunch, you’re trying too hard to get your tweet seen. Twitter has guidelines about how they can be used and monitors hashtagging to weed out those that are irrelevant or excessive.
Hashtag Best Practices
When you tweet, pick a topic keyword or two and search to see if there are already hashtags for them. If there’s already a hashtag, this increases the chances people will see it because they’ll be clicking on the hashtags already out there. If you can’t find the one you want to use, look for variations and reword accordingly.
If the hashtag doesn’t already exist, you can make it. Choose a relevant term or two that people who could use your tweet might search for.
The best hashtags, like the best keywords, aren’t too vague or too specific. If it’s too general, there will be so many tweets with the tag that yours won’t get seen. If it’s obscure, nobody will search for it in the first place.
If you start a new hashtag, do your best to tweet something interesting and get some engagement going with your audience. That will boost its visibility and pretty soon everybody will be using that tag. This increases the likelihood that your original post will be found by tweet searchers.
You can use Twitter to track relevant keywords, like your brand name, the names of your products, and anything else specific and related to your business. You can also spy on your competition. Use keywords related to their business as well and you’ll know what people think about them. There are software programs and apps that help you track multiple keywords and organize data.
Hashtags are a lot of fun and once you figure out how to use them, they get addictive. But fun or not, this is a wonderful tool for getting the most out of Twitter.