Have you seen a tweet with something like this “#socialmedia,” “#GrammyAwards” or even “#BetYouDidn’tKnow” included in it? They are called hashtags. What are hashtags? According to Hashtags.org Twitter hashtags are “used to mark a keyword or topic in a tweet.” Here’s another way of looking at it. Hashtags help categorize tweets so those searching for tweets concerning a particular topic can better locate them.
When creating hashtags think of a short phrase or acronym that best describes your idea, brand, cause, or event. If your goal is promotional stick to your event, brand, or company name if it’s not too long! Remember Twitter is counting every character not word and you only have 140 to work with, so keep it tight! If an acronym or abbreviation will work use it! People may not know at first what it means, but the remaining content of the tweet should help explain.
For Hollywood Black Film Festival last year, I used #HBFF2011. People were already familiar with the term HBFF so it was a no-brainer! Although #millionhoodiemarch is way too long some use #MillionHoodies, the original hashtag in their tweets. #HoodieMarch or even #TrayvonMarch could have also been used. You get the picture! Generally, don’t try to be overly cute with your hashtags when creating them for business or promote a cause, instead think brief but effective.
So now that you’re hip to what a hashtag is, allow me to show you how to properly use them to enhance your tweets. But first let me explain how NOT to use them:
1. DO NOT USE HASHTAGS ON FACEBOOK: Using hashtags in your Facebook posts is useless! They don’t belong there and only create confusion for non-Twitter users reading your posts.
2. DON’T USE HASHTAGS ALL WILLY-NILLY: Every #word in #your #tweet or #Twitter bio #should #not look like #this! It’s hard to understand. You’re doing too much and most of the hashtags are useless. Ideally you should use no more than three (3) hashtags per tweet.
Now HOW TO PROPERLY USE TWITTER HASHTAGS:
1. Before you create a new hashtag look to see if it already exists and has been used at Hashtags.org, Twubs.com, or use Twitter’s own search option.
2. Use hashtags generally on tweets relevant to a certain topic like an event, a tv show, a cause or a person. Here’s a few examples of how:
3. Use hashtags when involved in a twitter chat to ensure your tweets are differentiated from others and included in the overall conversation should a search be conducted. This will also help keep track of the conversation. The #commit2Act hashtag in the second image above is an example of this.
4. When trying to generate a trending topic, create a hashtag or use the hashtag already in use to help keep track of the tweets.