Whenever I have a conversation with a client about Twitter, the one thing that they say to me is ‘I don’t get what hashtags are and when to use them’. One thing that I will say to clients is that don’t force using a hashtag if it is not needed, it has to fit in with the tweet. I have created this article to help businesses understand a bit more about what a hashtag is and how to use it successfully.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags (#) are a way of identifying a message on a specific topic, they were first brought to Twitter on August 23, 2007 by Chris Messina and since then they have been used for a variety of reasons and not just to catagorise messages. They can be used to;
Improve the searchability of a tweet
Create a conversation around a tweet
One of the most popular hashtags that you will recognise is #FF which stands for Follow Friday, this happens every Friday where a user will recommend following another user by using the #FF hashtag and then add their username(s) after, eg. #FF @Metachick1
You could be adventurous and create your own hashtag and who knows, the hashtag could even end up trending (I will come to this in a bit)
The do’s and don’ts of Hashtags
A big no-no of Twitter is to put spaces in between words that you want to hashtag like this; #I love chocolate or to put a hashtag in front of all the words like this; #I #Love #Chocolate the correct way is; #ILoveChocolate
Do not use more then 3 hashtags in a single tweet, anything above this and you will lose audiences attention, 2 or 3 hashtags have been proven to engage more people.
Be very careful on what hashtags you use as although it may seem relevant to what you are tweeting about, somebody else may have used it in a different context. You can check hashtags in the search bar to see how else they have been used by others.
Create a hashtag to start a conversation about a product or even a competition, it’s a way of keeping the conversation going between your company and your audience.
A good example of this is a campaign from Suzuki that allowed Twitter users to nominate someone to receive a new car using the hashtag #giveanscross this was a great idea to increase their brand awareness and it was a fantastic prize.