Nowadays, most content marketers and brand ambassadors use Twitter – and the majority of them use hashtags. In social media circles, the term hashtag refers to keywords or word phrases (no spaces) that follow the number or pound symbol in a Tweet. People use hashtags on a variety of other social media platforms, but, for now, we’ll keep things simple by only talking about Twitter.
How and Why Use a Hashtag?
Use hashtags to categorize content, allowing for easy retrieval by yourself and others. By using a hashtag to categorize content, they’ll show up more easily in relevant Twitter searches. For example, a tweet about this article might include the hashtag #SoMe (for social media) or #contentmktg (for content marketing).
If you tag a Tweet with #inauguration, you will associate that content with President Obama’s second inauguration. Users can locate information about the event using a social basis, rather than using traditional search engine.
Create hashtags that people can easily remember and use. Think economy of statement when coming up with hashtags. Your followers might confuse or misspell the words in an overdone hashtag, nullifying its value in the conversation. Long hashtags also use up precious 140-character limit allowance in Twitter. Short and concise is one of the keys to creating hashtags that work.
If you’re a parenting expert and want to promote your parenting tips and content, don’t name a hashtag after your arduous and long website name. For example: use #PremiumParenting or #Tips4BusyMoms instead of #ParentingLessonsfromTinaFey or #AbbysParentingTipsforDivorcedDads
Please note: I sometimes use hashtags that I know are too long just to make a point when talking to someone I know well. I don’t expect it to start some sort of topic trend, or anything like that. When I do this, I know it’s useless in the big scheme of things. As you get to know more about hashtagging and the fun you can have with them in this way, you’ll probably do it too, at times (unless you’re just a hopeless #stickinthemud)
#If #You #Hashtag #Every #Single #Word #It #Is #Meaningless
Each hashtag you use categorizes and indexes your content. It’s doubtful people will conduct a Twitter search using hashtag, #if or #It. Your tweets will also look cluttered and followers will see this as a negative. Maybe you’re sending a tweet with a link to a story about the use of social media during the presidential inauguration. Pick the most relevant one or two hashtags that go with the content – #SoMe #inauguration. But do not hasthag it thusly: #SoMe #inauguration #Obama #President #WashingtonDC. Please. Just don’t.
Sometimes, when you retweet something you find interesting, the originator of the tweet will have used an over-abundance of hashtags. Proper (unwritten) Twitter etiquette suggests that you should leave the person’s original text in place as much as possible. But if the hashtag orgy in the original tweet makes it too long to pass to your friends, skip it, or take out a couple of irrelevant hashtags. Personally, if the content is really good, I just leave all the hashtags in out of respect and retweet.
Pick It and Stick It
When you choose a hashtag, whether it’s an already established one or an original from you, stick with it. Don’t suddenly add another one during the chat or conversation. Or worse, don’t abandon the old one and start using an entirely different one when engaging with others about the same topic. This will leave those followers who “didn’t get the memo” high and dry.
Practice in Safe Zones
Still confused? Practice using hashtags in situations and on platforms where they don’t matter at all. For example, to teach the Dragonslayer (my hubs) about hashtags, we started using them when texting and during spoken conversation. Weird? Maybe. Helpful? Yes. And it’s so much fun. We’ve laughed so hard at the hashtags we’ve come up with during conversations or text message sessions…little snarky flirts and other fun adventures. Now, he can hashtag #likeaboss.
Please share your own helpful tips about hashtagging and how you use them. I’m especially interested to know if you find yourself using them in places where they truly aren’t relevant – like conversation or text messaging. #justsayin
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