Hashtags are an unbelievably cool little Twitter tool.
A self-regulating system grown organically from the Tweeters themselves, hashtags monitor and ultimately, track what is important to the Twitterverse.
Hashtags represent what Tweeters are Tweeting.
Every subject, industry, and topic has a series of relevant hashtags.
For businesses, using hashtags effectively will not only grow your followers and overall online presence but also allow you to participate in an industry-wide dialogue.
Follow Twitter Trending
Before falling headfirst into the powerful world of Twitter hashtags, do some research into what are the trends for your industry.
Besides Twitter's own trending system, several other online directories update the top hashtags and topics.
- What are the most popular subjects?
- What are the least popular?
- Is there something that your industry is not Tweeting?
Watch for any seismic shifts in industry hashtags or if new topics pop up. Look for any patterns. Also, monitor which hashtags your competitors, clients and potential markets use.
Create Your Own Hashtags
After doing some research and monitoring, you'll probably come across a void in your industry. Why not fill it with your own hashtag?
Or, even further, your business is unique, so why not write a specialized hashtag just for your brand?
When writing hashtags, keep them short, relevant and memorable. Try to avoid using all lower case lettering, but opt for Title Case, which makes the hashtags easier to read and identify.
After which, promote your new subject not only through Twitter but all of your other online marketing channels.
Don't go crazy and create a hundred new hashtags. If anything, start with one that is unique to you and follow the trending.
Just like any other aspect of your marketing plan, overindulgence is a risk.
Ensure Hashtags are Relevant to Your Tweets
It is a good rule, in general, to stick to your industry.
Avoid looking at all of the top topics across the Twitterverse. Most likely, you'll find breaking news or celebrities dotting the top spots.
Just because #CharlieSheen has been the top search subject for two weeks straight, doesn't mean that you should use it in your business Tweets.
"We wonder what #CharlieSheen thinks of our new product."
Sure, you'll be a part of a pointless, flash-in-the-pan discussion, but what exactly does it offer your brand? Absolutely nothing.
Essentially, this is just another version of Twitter spam.
Use Hashtags Sparingly
By keeping your Tweets short, this increases the probability of ReTweeting. This same Twitter marketing rule also applies to hashtags.
To ensure the effectiveness of your Tweets, stick with one hashtag per Tweet.
Peppering your Tweet with several hashtags decreases the possibility of ReTweeting, but also dilutes your overall message. By doing this, you're sucking the life and power right out of your unique hashtag.
Also, it's terribly difficult to read with several hashtags in a single Tweet.