Before “hashtag” became a vocal term as in “look at ken’s new haircut…hashtag mullet!” it gained popularity and functionality through Twitter. The hashtag use developed organically amongst Twitter users to try and group and find similar phrases, topics or keywords. Whether you’re looking to promote your agenda, participate in common discussions, boost your followers or just Tweet a Pic of your new haircut for the world to see, it’s important to properly use hashtags in your Twitter account.
Hashtags were quickly developed into the Twitter programming language as their usage surged. Tweeters would use the hashtag (#) to group their tweet into a certain category or to get the main thesis of their 140-character diatribe across. A sample tweet using a hashtag:
@MulletKen – peeps keep making fun of my new ‘do but h8rs will never bring me down. #mulletpride
In this instance, Ken wants to tweet to his followers that he’s proud of his new haircut. He uses the hashtag ‘mulletpride’ to get the main title of his post across. In turn, Ken’s followers can click on #mulletpride to view other tweets that use the hashtag. In turn, Ken and other Twitter users can choose to follow other people who tweet interesting or funny things in the #mulletpride hashtag, which is how the feature became so popular.
Keep The Hashtag Relevant
If Ken would’ve included the hashtag #lowerthedebtceiling at the end of his Tweet, it would’ve been a shameless attempt to piggy back on a trending tweet to gain followers. When a lot of the same people use similar hashtags, that topic becomes trending and displays on the Twitter home page. Trending topics are basically a popular party that everybody is trying to get in to and while they develop quickly, they also become spammed almost just as quick. Typically trending topics pertain to popular events or people in the news and tweeting with these hashtags increases viewers to a particular Tweet.
Other Hashtag Basics
Besides using relevant hashtags to what you’re tweeting about, remember not to overdo it with the tags. Good etiquette states no more than two hashtags per tweet, otherwise you’ll lose followers who believe they’re being overwhelmed with marketing ploys. Another thing to remember is that hashtags don’t always need to appear at the end of your Tweet. For instance, building the hashtag directly into the beginning or middle of your tweet adds fluency and makes the message easier to read and understand. Also remember to keep your hashtag word somewhat short so that followers can remember it and so that you’ll have more of your 140 characters available to talk about the topic.
Using Hashtags To Promote Something
The ordinary Twitter user will use hashtags to tweet about topics of their interest that they’ve seen on TV or in the newspaper but for those with a small business or event to promote, hashtags can be an invaluable tool. What small businesses want to do is walk a fine line between over-spamming their followers while still getting the message across. Typically, offering contests or prizes is the best way to promote your business or event inconspicuously. Here’s an example of a non-invasive business Tweet:
@SilverMulletSalon- We’re offering a free hair cut to the first 10 followers who can name all of Billy Ray Cyrus’ children (legitimate) #FreeMulletFriday
People would then tweet back in the hopes of garnering a free haircut but the hashtag and publicity would help people remember the Silver Mullet Salon. Small businesses should also take advantage of Follow Friday, in which Twitter users recommend others to follow. Other wise business hashtag usage includes searching for the latest industry news. If you’re promoting an event, make sure to hashtag the event and start the promotion early in order to gain a maximum social networking buzz.
Whether you’re gaining followers for personal advantage or to promote your business, make sure to use hashtags in your Twitter posts all day long, from late at night to early morning breakfast…hashtag hashbrowns! Image credit: 1