If you are looking for a way to take your tweets beyond your own following, hashtags are a great solution. Adding a hashtag to your tweets, broadcasts your tweet to anyone that is following that particular hashtag.
For the uninitiated, hashtags were developed as a means to cluster tweets that are similar on Twitter. To initiate a hashtag, all you have to do is add a pound sign (#) to any word or phrase. The trick is not to abuse the privilege. This means that you don’t want to include more than one hashtag per tweet.
It is also a good idea to check to see if the hashtag you are considering carries any weight. If no one else is searching for the subject there is no reason to employ the hashtag. How do you find out if a hashtag has any merit? The answer to this question couldn’t be easier. Simply go to Hashtags.org. On the site you will find lists of the most popular tags. The site also provides a handy search box where you can enter your proposed hashtag and not only find out how many people are using the tag, but you can also see who and when last tweeted the hashtag.
Straight From TwitterHashtags are simply keywords preceded by a hash symbol (“#”) that makes them both searchable and linkable on Twitter. For example, let’s say you wanted to find out what Twitter users are talking about right now on the topic of Social Media. You can type the phrase “Social Media” (minus the quotes) in Twitter’s search field and you’ll get related results.
You’ll notice from the above-linked results that the phrase “social media” is bolded but not linkable.
Now try searching for the hashtag “#socialmedia” instead. (Note: hashtags have to be one continuous keyword, with no spaces in between words — and they are not case sensitive).
This time you’ll find that the hashtag “#socialmedia” is actually a clickable link. If you click the hashtag in any tweet, you’ll display a live feed of every tweet that has that hashtag in it. You can find the most up to date tweets by clicking the bar that says “x new tweets.”
Twitter describes hashtags as “themes” for your tweets.
In other words, when Twitter users include hashtags in their tweets, they are deliberately assigning a unique theme to that tweet by virtue of its linkability to all other tweets containing the same hashtag.
Furthermore, users who include a hashtag in their tweets are assuming that it will be searched by other users who are interested in the same topic.
This allows your tweets to potentially be seen by millions of users throughout the world who are searching for a certain hashtag. This is a powerful tool because it allows your tweets to be seen by people who don’t even follow you.
Start a TrendThere are even different classifications of hashtags, depending upon their popularity. For instance, if a hashtag is used by thousands of users simultaneously, it becomes what Twitter refers to as a “Trend”.
Trending hashtags have the added benefit of appearing right in the Twitter Home page and are thus exposed to hundreds of millions of Twitter users!
Hashtags Can Also Helping You Find Interesting Tweets
- People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.
- If Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
- Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 1 or 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
- Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.
What you don’t want your tweet to look like is this::
My name is Carl and I’m an #internet #marketing #consultant that specializes in #Internet results.
· Make hastags relevant - Don’t talk about cooking food and add #socialmedia to the Tweet. If it’s about food, make it #food. About blogging? Use #blogging. Don’t use frivolous hashtags that come from out of left field.
The Last Word on Hashtags
Properly researched and employed, hashtags can help you build followers, broadcast your message to potentially millions of fellow tweeters and put your tweets on steroids. Abuse them, and you’ll be considered as nothing more than just another spammer. And that's nothing you want tweeted.
Carl Weiss has been helping clients generate results online since 1995. If you want to see how you stack up online go to http://access-jax.com or http://jacksonville-video-production.com and click on the link that reads FREE Web Presence Analysis.