If you use Social Media in one way or another you will have undoubtedly come across updates or tweets with a # directly before a word or phrase. On first sight this looks weird and in most cases will mean nothing to you, so if you’re at this stage here’s some information about why they are used and more importantly why they are so effective!
The # is called a hashtag and is used on Twitter (although you will sometimes see it on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn too when peoples tweets are published on more than one site). It was created organically by people using Twitter to sort messages into categories and is used to highlight keywords or topics in a tweet (update).
How To Use Hashtags:
* Send out tweets with # preceding keywords / phrases from your public Twitter account and then anyone who does a search for that particular word with the hashtag may find your Tweet and follow your account. You can do the same by clicking on any hashtagged word and it will show you all other messages in that category – useful for finding people with similar interests.
* Keywords that have been hashtagged and end up being very popular often become trending topics which are promoted on Twitter so another great way for people to find you and you to find people talking about the same things.
* It is a good idea to do a little research before deciding what is and isn’t a keyword – you want to find out whether the subject you are tweeting about already has an established hashtag and use that, rather than start trying to create another trend. Try using http://hashtags.org for this information, it’s pretty useful!
* Use hashtags only on tweets that are relevant to the topic keeping everything related, otherwise people will see that you are misusing the # and will promptly un-follow or report you.
* Hashtags can appear anywhere in your tweet, so within the content as well as added words at the end of your statement.
* Don’t put too many #hashtags in a single #tweet otherwise you will be seen as a #spammer and again probably #reported. Ideally don’t use more than 3 hashtags per tweet as otherwise you will most definitely cause frustration of fellow tweeps.
* Always bare in mind that people are more interested in what you are actually doing rather than what hashtags you have used, so always focus on your update and only put in hashtags if it adds value to your tweet. You don’t need to use them in every statement you make so don’t become a robot! 😉
If you have any issues with hashtags there is a help centre on Twitter or you can ask us at Vision Odyssey if you like – good luck folks!