Top 5 Twitter Hashtag Tips: What They Are and How to Use Them

Over 500 million Twitter users are posting over 340 million tweets every day, and a majority of those tweets include hashtags. Chris Messina, also known as the “hash godfather”, officially invented hashtags back in 2007, and they’ve become increasing popular ever since. Despite their popularity, many people still don’t fully understand the unspoken etiquette of how to use hashtags.

This post will give you a better understanding of what hashtags are and how you can use them to benefit your business.

WAWarning TriangleRNING: Failing to read this post in its entirety may lead to a hashtag disaster. (If you care about your friends and family, you share this post with them too.)

What are Hashtags?

Hashtags are designated by a number or pound sign (#) and attached to a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in a tweet. Clicking on a hashtagged word shows you other Tweets marked with that keyword or phrase.

Twitter users create hashtags to categorize messages and mark keywords or topics in a tweet. They can also help target marketing efforts by putting tweets in front of the people who are interested in them or, as Mark Burgess explains, function like a lighthouse to attract Twitter users to content that may be of interest.

Now that you understand the meaning and purpose of hashtags, we can teach you how to use them effectively.

Follow Swiftpage on Twitter1.      Keep it Simple and Direct
Only tag the most important word or phrase that represents the topic of your tweet. Tweets with more than three hashtags are difficult to read and less engaging, have lower click through rates and make you seem desperate for attention. When you do use multiple hashtags in a single tweet, make sure to separate them by several words. Use short and concise hashtags. Long and complicated hashtags aren’t as search-friendly and can’t be re-used as easily.

2.      Create your own Hashtag
Use generic hashtags, like Nike’s #makeitcount, that inspire creativity for your customers and business.  Including your brand name in your hashtags makes it harder for people to participate and less relatable to other tweets. It also gives brand haters the ability and motivation to manipulate the hashtag’s intended meaning.

3.      Take advantage of event hashtags
Tweeting the official hashtag of events or conferences you attend will help you gain visibility for your brand, develop relationships with new customers and audiences in your industry, and enhance your image as a thought leader. If you can’t attend the event, you can still monitor and participate in the conversion remotely.

4.      Join conversations
You can reap the benefits of hashtags without creating them on your own. Contributing to existing hashtag is another way to help people discover your brand and will increase the chances of being retweeted.

Use these tools to help you discover and define hashtags for a variety of topics:

5.      Monitor conversations
If you don’t feel like participating, you can always monitor certain hashtags to see what your industry, stakeholders and competition are saying about a particular topic. Observing behaviors will also make it easier for you to join and effectively participate in other conversations.

You can use hashtags to keep up-to-date on topics that relate to your business and inspire your next marketing campaign. There are numerous hashtags that apply specifically to small businesses, including: #SMB, #smallbiz, #marketing, #sales, #startups, #entrepreneurs and #networking.

Twitter hashtags have become a valuable marketing tool for countless organizations across the globe, but many small businesses still don’t understand how to use them effectively. Now you can put yourself ahead of your competition by applying the hashtag tips provided in this post.

What hashtags do you use in your business’s tweets? Which ones gave you the most visibility? Share your hashtag experiences by posting a comment below. (Bonus Tip: Posting comments on other businesses blogs is an easy way to gain exposure for your business, and it’s FREE!)  

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About Ben Koenig

Ben joined the Swiftpage team in May 2012 as a Marketing Associate. He is in charge of outbound communications, strategic analyses, support content management, and a variety of other marketing projects. When Ben's not working you are likely to find him enjoying every outdoor activity the Colorado Wilderness has to offer.

2 Responses to “Top 5 Twitter Hashtag Tips: What They Are and How to Use Them”

  1. I was just having this conversation with my 18 year old daughter…why #hashtags? As a newbie in the Twitter world, this was perfect timing.

    • Glad to hear it was great timing! Hashtags have created a wholes new world online. Facebook is trying to integrate them this year as well.

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