If you’ve read How I Use Twitter to Promote My Content and Twitter Tips – How Hootsuite Makes Twitter Time More Productive, you probably have a pretty good working knowledge of Twitter already. The next installment in my series of Twitter Tips articles will focus on hash tags (or hashtags) – what hashtags are and how they can be useful to you.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are words preceded by the # symbol to signify a grouping or topic. Think of it as a keyword of sorts. If your article is about homeschooling, you might put hashtags of #homeschooling, #education, etc, somewhere in your tweet. When you tweet something, it is visible to your Twitter followers, but putting a hashtag can increase your visibility to people you would not otherwise reach, and also allow you to find others with interests similar to yours.
Are you on Twitter right now? If not, go log in – I’ll wait.
Look through recent tweets and pick one that has a hashtag – it doesn’t matter what it is – then click on the hashtag. What you should see now is a listing of recent posts by others all over Twitter who have used that hashtag. If you see a post of interest, you might consider clicking the name of the tweeter to find out more about them, and even decide to follow them. Guess what? Others do this too, so you are likely to increase your following in the same manner by using hashtags.
Visit hashtag.org and use the search function when trying to decide what hashtags to use for your particular tweet, or if you use HootSuite, you can search there also.
I have HootSuite set up via the AC RSS feed so that it posts a tweet automatically when an article of mine publishes. Since it is pre-set to list just the name of the article with the hashtag #AC in front of it, I often will manually tweet the article later with different text and any other appropriate hashtags, for example: my crochet patterns will get tweeted with the hasthags #crochet, #crafts, and #yarn, my article on NFL Week 4 Picks was tweeted with the hashtags of #NFL and #football, and my haikus bore the hashtag of – you guessed it – #haiku (as well as #poetry). By doing so, I now have new followers that crochet or write poetry, people that I never would have been exposed to had it not been for the hashtags I chose. Since they read my post with the hashtag, it’s a safe bet that they clicked the link to my article, resulting in more PVs that I would not have received otherwise.
Now that you understand how hashtags can help your page views, use them to help out your friends by retweeting (RT) their tweets with hashtags as well. It will give them the same extra bit of exposure that you enjoy from using hashtags on your own tweets, and you’ll occasionally pick up more followers from the retweets with hashtags too. For instance, I have a fellow Associated Content Producer that writes quite a bit about homeschooling. If I see her tweet an article that bears only the hashtags that pertain to AC, I’ll RT with the hashtags of #homeschool and #education and give her a bit of a boost. Because I am the one that RT with the hashtag, I’ve had several new people with an interest in homeschooling decide to follow me, and she’s probably got a few new surprise followers too. We all win.
Hint: If the tweet or RT is already close to the 140 character limit, if the word you want to use for a hashtag is already in the tweet, simply put the # in front of the word. It doesn’t matter where the hashtag is located in the tweet. If you have a tweet that says ‘Favorite Christmas gifts for teens this year’, you could stick the # in front of the word Christmas, making it a hashtag.
Hashtags are a wonderful way to expand your horizons on Twitter and also to draw people to your content. Don’t tweet without them.
If you found this information on hashtags helpful, please feel free to snatch the URL and tweet it – but don’t forget to put hashtags of #twitter_tips and #hashtags!