Understand Twitter Hashtags and How to Use it in a Social Media Strategy

Twitter is an important part of any social media strategy and to use it well is to get more customer engagement. If you have a Twitter account, you have most probably seen the number symbol (#) used before certain words, which sometimes make no sense. This symbol along with the word or phrase is knows as a hashtag.

A hashtag is a keyword or phrase typed out without spaces and preceded by a ‘#’ symbol. It is Twitter’s way of categorizing tweets from different users in one stream and this allows users to find conversations and people they might want to follow. In essence, these hashtags allow people to connect over the type of content they are tweeting. Popular hashtags are categorized under trending topics and shown to all twitter users. It is obvious that Twitter hashtags drive engagement, so how do you use it to your benefit?

Make your own hashtag

You can create your own custom hashtag and generate buzz around it by asking your followers to use this hashtag in their tweets. This will allow you to find all their submitted tweets very easily, which in turn will help you engage with them. Many companies were able to turne this into contests that were so successful that their custom hashtags became popular trends.

Companies also create custom hashtags to promote upcoming events or contests. Create this hashtag way before the actual event takes place and tweet often using this hashtag. Followers will definitely pick up on this and give you free publicity for the event. During the event, ask participants to tweet about their experiences using the hashtag assigned for the event, allowing followers to get live updates about the event.

Pick appropriate hashtags to participate in

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use a hashtag like #loveKittens if you want to promote your auto repair shop. Such silly hashtags may be popular but not a good idea to create brand credibility. Using existing hashtags is a great idea as some of these hashtags are well-established and have a lot of user engagement. Use Twitter’s search feature and type in hashtags that might be appropriate for your brand. It is recommended that you avoid very popular hashtags that could result in your tweets going unseen in the barrage of tweets. Choose one that is relevant to your business and has participants that are similar to your brand.

Keep hashtags short

As you know, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet – so don’t waste them all in one long hashtag. By keeping hashtags short and simple, you can include more content related to the hashtag for your audience. Also, short hashtags are easier to remember, type out and find. Remember – do not put more than 2 hashtags per tweet.

Use third party tools to keep track

You cannot use only Twitter search to look for good hashtags. There are some excellent third party tools like TweetGrid and Monitter that lets give you real time results on Twitter searches for hashtags. HootSuite is an extremely popular tool where users can create social dashboards and you can set up alerts for hashtags on it.