Twitter Tutorial: Using #Hashtags

Using Twitter #HashtagsIn my previous post, I discussed using @mentions by explaining what they are, how they are used and how to effectively use them. Now it’s time to do the same for hashtags.

Hashtags are way to add metadata to your tweet. As such, they are typically used in an effort to get your tweet more views. A tweet with a hashtag basically creates a hyper link to search results of tweets containing the same hashtag. Hashtags are created by adding the hash or pound symbol (#) in front of a word: #hashtag. The main purpose behind a hashtag is to help identify a topic and spread the information on Twitter. There are several ways in which people can use a hashtag.

Many conferences are using hashtags as a way for conference attendees to discuss what they are learning and engage with other participants or directors. They do this by choosing a hashtag related to the conference theme or topic and making sure everyone knows about the hashtag. Then, everyone at the conference uses the hashtag throughout the event.

Online contests are another way to effectively use a hashtag. The object here is to identify users who are entering the contest by using the hashtag. I have conducted several social media concert ticket giveaways for KVSC 88.1FM and I always try to find a unique hashtag for the contest. Another reason for using a hashtag for a Twitter contest is to hopefully generate a trending topic. This is usually only achievable with a company with lots of followers using the hashtag or one that can afford to use Twitter’s promoted tweets.

Another popular way to use a hashtag is to hold “tweetchats” for users with similar interests. For instance, PRSA uses the hashtag “#prstudchat” for public relations student to engage in conversation with one another and with potential employers. To hold a tweetchat, a hashtag related to the subject is chosen and a time is set for the chat to happen. With a little help from a moderator, all Twitter users need to do is search for the hashtag, tweet their thoughts or questions and hit refresh every now and then to join in the conversation.

If for nothing else, Twitter users like to use hashtags in a comical sense such as “#icanttakeyouseriously if you wear crocs” (by @loreeeeos). There are a number of other ways in which you can use hashtags such as introducing a new product or during a crisis situation. Whatever your reason, just make sure you use hashtags wherever relavent to help organize your tweets and provide your followers with media-rich updates to increase interaction.


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