Hashtags first started out on Twitter and have made their way onto all of the most popular social networks including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. A hashtag is a symbol used to mark a certain category on social media.
The use of a Hashtag in a strategic way can be effective when creating popularity around your brand or business. Finding relevant conversations and interesting people to follow is one of the key uses of hashtags along with increasing engagement.
It is important as a business to understand why hashtags are so important, especially onTwitter. Below you can see some great statistics around how hashtags improve a business’s online interaction when it comes to Twitter.
Hashtags have become somewhat of a trend which isn’t necessarily a good thing if a user doesn’t understand why they are using a hashtag and the reason behind why they are so powerful. Here are three benefits to using hashtags;
Using the right hashtags when trying to build engagement can increase your following extensively over just a few days.
If you show expertise when using a hashtag to start a conversation, people will see you as an influencer and follow you because of your reputation.
Searching the right hashtags will allow you to find vital information on an subject matter.
When using hashtags on Social Media, they can lose their value if not used correctly. Hashtags should have a purpose whether it is to increase engagement or following, their is always a reason. Below are 5 uses of hashtags that you should be aware of.
The whole idea behind a hashtag when using one is to make sure it is not to obscure or too long. Remember that a hashtag is only effective is people are actually using it. If it isn’t popular enough, it won’t help you boost your profile however you don’t want your post to get lost if your hashtag is too popular.
It’s great if you are using hashtags and you understand why you are using them but you also need to make sure you measure conversions and by this I mean making sure that you are using the right hashtags. If your key performance indicators (below) have not increased since you have changed your hashtag strategy, you might need to revise your plan.
If you don’t know how to measure the above KPI’s, you can use hashtag applications and social analytical tools to measure your businesses performance. To see how certain hashtags are performing in general, you can follow the conversations yourself or Google the specific hashtag to see how it is performing.
I hope you now know how to use hashtags to increase your social media presence.
Images taken from Digital Formation World
4 Smart Ways To Use Hashtags To Get More Pinterest Followers
Hashtags isn’t just for sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and GooglePlus. If you want to get more attention and build your Pinterest followers use hashtags that are the most important to your business and consistently add those to your pin descriptions.
Here are four reasons why using hashtags makes sense as part of your Pinterest marketing strategy:
1) To help pinners interested in niche topics or interests find each other and find the conversation. By including a hashtag in your pin, you can possibly get in front of people who may not have seen your post otherwise.
2) Branding your Pinterest page with your own special hashtag can help an idea or new product catch on.
By branding all your pins about a new product, you can break this information out into a separate stream of information and give people an easy way to share information about that product or idea. To register your hashtag go to http://www.hashtags.org
Here’s an example of a new product launch that michael kors created #MKTIMELESS. So when michael kors tracks pinners that are using this trending hashtag they can easily do that by going to the Pinterest search engine and they’ll see the pinners who are interested in this product and the next step for them to engage with those pinners.
3) You can tweet your pins from Pinterest so adding hashtags on your pin descriptions will save you time tweeting.
4) You can use a hashtag in your pin description to promote a coupon, deal, promotions, special offers, event or contest. Here’s an example from “Jewelry for a Cause” contest using the hashtags #pintowin and #jumpforjune.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when using hashtags:
1. If the word is more than one word make it easy for pinners to read by capitalizing the first letter of each word. For example instead of #ballroomdress you would type #BallRoomDress. Do your best to keep it short.
2. Don’t use more than 3 hashtags in your pin descriptions because it looks spammy and pinners will lose track of what you’re saying. This is a turn off which will see them quickly skipping your pin for a less cluttered pin description.
3. Do you best to include the hashtag in a sentence to avoid your pin descriptions looking messy.
Menthos could improve their pin description by editing their description to “Click here to get your #Menthos Buy 1 get 1 free #FreeCoupon”and then add the website link to get the coupon.
Just like any marketing effort, you need to use all of the tools at your disposal to spread the word about your brand and hashtags are a good tool to use. Use them whenever relevant, put them on your website, and include them in your company’s promotional materials.
For as long as I have been doing social media marketing, I have wondered what the value of Twitter is for sales and business. Everyone knows the indisputable value of LinkedIn for B2B sales, marketing, , and entrepreneurs in general. But Twitter is finally gaining traction in B2C?
This article shares some of the latest Twitter strategies, tactics, tools, and best practices.
1. Decide your purpose. Why are you using Twitter?
Some Twitter users utilize the social media site to build their company brand or generate leads. There are bloggers who use the platform to share ideas and articles and to see what others are writing about. Some people check Twitter for news, while others want to see what celebrities or friends are up to.
Defining your purpose will help you decide who to follow and what kind of information to share.
2. Focus on your passion. There are millions of Twitter users tweeting thousands of pieces of information every second. It is easy to get overwhelmed by and lost in the noise. Rather than trying to soak it all in and repurpose everything, focus on your passion.
Don’t be a jack of all Twitter subjects and a master of none. Tweets surrounding your passion are going to be stronger. Plus, you will attract users who have similar interests. If you don’t focus, you will attract meaningless followers, if any at all.
3. Define your brand. Once you have zeroed in on your purpose and passion, decide how you want the Twitter world to view you.
Do you want to specialize in one subject to attract a targeted audience? Or do you want to be more general, tweeting about numerous topics? Do you want your tweets to be funny and casual or very professional? Is your goal to be a thought leader or celebrity? This will give you direction on who to follow and what to tweet.
4. Determine your strategy. Is your strategy tocommunicate?
If your goal is to influence, promote or sell, your strategy should be communication based. You are going to want to attract attention. To attract attention, you are going to need to tweet, direct message, engage with other users and focus on getting information out in the Twitter world.
Is it to listen?
If you are using Twitter to keep up on news, learn, provide customer service or perform market analysis, your strategy should be to listen. You are going to want to decide who will provide the content you’re interested in and follow them. You will also want to learn how to utilize filtering tools, including hashtags and Twitter lists.
5. Learn how to use Twitter. Reading this article and articles like it is a good first step. However, to really learn how to utilize Twitter, you’re going to need to get your hands a little dirty and roll up your sleeves.
- Go to Twitter.com, and create a free account.
- Learn Twitter terminology. When you post something, it’s a tweet. When you repost something from another user, it’s a retweet or RT. Trending topics, or TT, are topics discussed by many users at a given time. You can Favorite a tweet by clicking on the star. That is a great way to recognize someone for sharing your content.
- Explore. See who is on Twitter and what people are tweeting.
- Engage. Follow the guidelines in this article and become an active user.
6. Grab your name, brand or persona. (@KenKrogue)
When you are signing up, you will need to decide your Twitter name, which is how people will tag you in tweets and ultimately how you will be known on Twitter. Mine is my name, @KenKrogue. If you can’t get your own name, add your passion or function like @KenKrogueSells or something. My company address is @InsideSales. Choose something that fits you or your business.
7. Take a good picture. Use a close-up headshot of yourself or a logo of your business. This image will show up on your profile page and next to any comment you make on Twitter. You want people to recognize you. Make sure the image is clear and well-lit, with your face in the center. (Or you can be off-center, like me, if you are a little different.) You want to avoid having other objects beside you in the picture.
If you are using a logo, try not to make it too wordy, or it will not be readable at the small image size. Your image can be formatted as a jpg, gif or PNG. The size limit for upload is 700KB. Twitter reformats the image for the profile picture and the smaller image that goes next to comments.
Changing Your Profile Image. To change your profile image, click on the gear icon located at the top of the page, and select “edit profile.” Next to “Photo” select “Upload photo” from the drop down. Upload your photo from your computer.
8. Find your keywords. Use the Google Keyword Tool (now Keyword Planner as of Aug 26) to find the keywords that make up your industry or market. Remember to divert a river, don’t dig a well. In other words, tap into existing traffic rather than generating it from scratch. It is better to know about keywords than even about hashtags, because a hashtag is a keyword or a “theme” that can help amplify your exposure.
9. Research and identify your #hashtags. Hashtags are a tool to make words more searchable. To create a hashtag, place # before a word. Hashtags allow Twitter users to tap into a Twitter-wide conversation. Discover the trending conversations, and decide which ones you want to be included in. This will also help you connect with users who have similar interests.
Use a maximum of two hashtags per tweet. Hashtags are a useful way to get your tweet out to people who are actually interested in its main subject, but too many hashtags in a single post can be overwhelming.
#Hashtags can be a #useful #tool, but this is #toomany in a #single #tweet. #annoying #overwhelming
Five Tools to Help Research Hashtags:
- Twitter Toolbar: You can search terms, keywords and people by entering them into the toolbar at the top of the page on Twitter. For example, if you are in sales, try searching #sales and related keywords you have identified using the Google Keyword Tool. If you want to see tweets surrounding a certain topic enter that term into the search bar, and it will bring you to all related tweets. For example, if you wanted to see tweets related to the Inside Sales Virtual Summit, enter #SalesSummitinto the search bar, and all tweets tagged #SalesSummit will show up.
- Hashtags.org: Hashtags.org provides research to help businesses improve social networking strategies.
- Twitter Reach
- Social Mention
(3-5 are social analytics tools that can provide analysis of your tweets and hashtags.)
10. Wordsmith your profile with keywords for search and fun facts for people. Once you have decided why you are using Twitter, what your target audience is and gone through the initial setup, now you want to show up in search. Include keywords in your Twitter profile.
11. Publish your Twitter ID in your other media. I post my Twitter ID (@KenKrogue) in my email signature, at the bottom of articles I write and anywhere else I think applicable. This lets people know I’m on Twitter and helps them find me. A great way to grow your following is to start with people you know and connect with them in various ways.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
12. Check out Twitter Tools like TweetAdder or Tweepi to target who to follow or who you want to follow you. The best way to build your network is to target your content specifically to those who would be interested in following you and make it really interesting and valuable.TweetAdder or Tweetpi are perfect tools for this. Check out How to Build a Targeted Twitter Tribe of 100,000 on Jeff Bullas’ blog. Two other useful tools are Twitonomy, which provides analytics, and Twtrland, which offers up social intelligence.
13. The follow-first rule: I follow you then (hopefully) you follow me. This is by far the most common way to get followers. Twitter puts limits on how many users you can follow. Here are the guidelines: “Every account can follow 2,000 users total. Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published.”
14. The favorites-follower rule: I click ‘favorite’ on your Tweet, then you follow me. This method helps you gain targeting following by first finding Tweets that match your interests and targeted keywords. Then you click ‘favorite’ and often they reciprocate. This takes more time, but gives you a much higher quality and engaged following.
15. The offer-follower rule: You follow me, I give you something: information, ebook, etc. Make sure to give away something that your target audience will value. Make it easy for people to claim their reward.
16. The fan-follower rule: You follow a celebrity, they tweet you about them. You follow a celebrity types to keep up on their tweets. Twitter helped this process a lot by featuring the Twitter address of famous people in the Twitter registration process.
17. Choose your lists: Twitter lists allow you to listen to relevant conversations, identify influencers and filter out the noise so you can focus on the people and topics you care about.
18. Two ears and one mouth rule: Listen (and research first) before you speak. It is much better to listen about twice as much as you tweet if you want a strong following that is engaged and targeted to your purpose and passion.
19. Listen with Topsy. Topsy.com is a Twitter search engine that let’s you see if anyone listens or cares. Let’s you see the latest Twitter results in the past hour, day, week, 20 days, month or all time — with a cool trending graph. Also, be on the the lookout for a great social media tool called TinyTorch. This premier tool enables you to easily find relevant social content in your industry.
20. Use Tweetdeck or HootSuite to listen to the conversation about you, your company, or your industry. Serious listeners step up to Radian6, what is now the saleforce marketing cloud.
21. Create and tweet great original content that fits your purpose. Create content that is informative and entertaining. Write about industry news, especially if you’re in a position to break the news. Stay on top of trends and provide commentary that adds context. If somebody releases groundbreaking research in your industry, write about this research. But don’t just regurgitate it. Use your own expertise to explain why this research is important. Show others in your industry how they can apply it to their work.
Use a combination of short-form content, like tweets, and long-form content, like blog posts, to establish yourself as a thought leader.
22. Summarize and curate great content that fits your purpose.
Share facts, insights and statistics in 140 characters or less. Try to keep your tweets to about 100 characters to leave room for links and hashtags and to increase the likelihood that somebody will retweet your content. Use your Twitter lists to curate relevant content. Set up keyword searches to track content by keywords.
23. Spend your time on really great headlines with keywords. Your headlines have the greatest impact on how many people share and read your content.
Here are some proven headline formulas:
- Lists: Headlines with numbers in them consistently perform well. Example: 7 Undeniable Reasons People LOVE List Posts.
- How to: “How to” titles promise a benefit to your readers. Example: How to Use Sales Data to Increase Sales Productivity.
- Target a Shark: Refer to a shark, which can be an important company or person in your industry. This allows you to feed off the shark’s popularity to call attention to your content. Example: What Steve Jobs Can Teach You About Startup Success.
- Include Keywords: If you want to be known for sales motivation, make sure to include that keyword phrase in your headlines. Example: 6 Insanely Useful Sales Motivation Secrets.
24. Keep tweeting — Resend tweets with different angles. Some social media experts (Guy Kawasaki for example) recommend that you send the same tweet four times to cover all four U.S. time zones.
If you want to mix things up, here are some different angles you can take:
Use statistics to show significance: 90% of your sales come from 10% of your list
Address tweets to the individual by including the word “you”: Why You Should Focus on 10% of Your Prospect List
25. Alternate tweets by time of day and day of week. Social media scientist Dan Zarrella says that the best time to tweet if you want to be retweeted is on Friday at 4 p.m. EST. That’s based on aggregate data he has analyzed for millions of retweets. The engagement levels on your Twitter account may vary based on your industry and other factors.
Use the Buffer App Tool (one of my favorites) to schedule your tweets. Test different days and times. Monitor engagement by using Buffer’s Analytics tab. Identify patterns among your Twitter followers. Schedule your tweets for your optimal days and times. >Don’t overlook weekends. Some Twitter users see higher engagement over the weekend. But the only way to know is to test and monitor your results.
26. Bridge Twitter with other media. Create a dynamic experience for your Twitter audience by including different types of media, such as images and videos.
Here are some tools you can use:
- Twitpic: Go to Twitpic.com, create an account, upload photos and easily share them on Twitter.
- Yfrog: Yfrog is another popular photo-sharing service.
- YouTube videos: Simply paste a YouTube video URL into a tweet. Your followers will be able to view the video right in their Twitter stream by clicking on the “View Media” link that appears in your tweet.
- AudioBoo: Use AudioBoo to share audio files. Once you have an account, sharing an AudioBoo link is super intuitive.
Twitter is a very passive media, but great to build awareness and start conversations. I recommend bridging to more assertive media like email, Chatter, LinkedIn, phone conversations, and live meetings. Live meetings are the most assertive, and work great at common events like Trade Shows, etc. Use Twitter to bridge to more assertive media as soon as you can.
27. Retweet great content. When you see something worth sharing in your stream, retweet it. This means that you are sharing somebody else’s Twitter content with your own followers. Retweeting somebody else’s content accomplishes two things:
- It helps you make friends with other influencers on Twitter.
- It shows your followers that you’re an active member of your online community.
Retweeting is simple. Here’s how:
Click the Retweet button on any tweet. This will publish the original tweet in your followers’ streams. The tweet will appear exactly as it did when it was first tweeted, meaning it will appear to come from the person who originally tweeted it. A message will appear at the bottom of the tweet telling people that you retweeted it.
Retweet the old-fashioned way. When viewing a tweet, click Reply. Copy and paste the original message into your tweet box. Place the letters RT in front of the original tweeter’s Twitter handle, or @ sign. Click Tweet. The post will be published in your followers’ streams as if it came from you. Many users prefer this method of retweeting because it’s better for building your own brand.
28. Send direct tweets as a great form of communication. Direct tweets are one-to-one messages as opposed to one-to-many. So, these tweets are more personal by nature. Use direct tweets to build strong relationships and to communicate important messages.
There are two types of direct tweets:
At-replies: Send an at-reply to another Twitter user by hitting the Reply button on any tweet. Type your message into the box that pops up and click Tweet. Your at-reply will show up in this person’s Interactions stream, which means it is more likely to be seen than a regular tweet. Just remember, your at-reply will also be visible to the public as part of your general Twitter stream.
Direct messages: If you don’t want anybody but the intended recipient to see your tweet, use a direct message. Click on the gray gear icon at the top of your Twitter profile. Select Direct Messages and create a new message. Once you submit it, it will appear in the recipient’s inbox.
29. Use great #hashtags. Hashtags categorize your tweets, which makes it easier for others interested in your topic to find them. Turn the keywords you want to be known for into your hashtags. Create a hashtag by placing the # symbol in front of your keywords. For example, #insidesales, #sales and #salesdata are popular hashtags in the sales space. Remember the rule though: divert a river, don’t dig a well.
Find existing hashtags with lots of traffic by searching for them using the Search Bar at the top of your profile. View a list of related tweets by clicking on a hashtag inside a tweet.
Make a hashtag for every event and presentation you do. #salessummit was our hashtag for our big Virtual Sales Summit. It already had lots of existing traffic (divert a river.)
Put your hashtag right at the bottom of every slide in your PowerPoint to make it easy for people to see it and tweet while you are presenting.
30. Leverage your tweets in Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. Share your Twitter content with your audience on other networks by re-posting your tweets on Facebook and LinkedIn, when appropriate. You also can embed a tweet into your blog or website. Click on the date in the upper-right-hand corner of a tweet. Then click More and select Embed Tweet. Copy the code and add it to your blog or website.
SEE IF IT’S WORKING
31. Check where you stand on social media tools, like Klout.com, Peerindex.com, Kred.com, Wefollow.com. Your influence on social media matters. The higher your score is, the more influential and relevant you are to others in the social media realm. One of the most popular tools is Klout. Quickly set up an account on Klout to see your score from 1 to 100.
Effective brand-generated hashtags, on the other hand, are designed for action. The best brand hashtags not only reach an existing group of people who are already interested in a specific category, they give those people a reason to talk publicly about the brand. Here are some best practices that every brand should implement.
Keep it to 3 tags or less per post on any social channel or you’ll look like a spammer. If you think you need more, write a separate tweet or post.
Don’t hijack a popular trending hashtag to get attention—especially one with any whiff of controversy– unless you can find a solid connection. Remember when Entenmann’s decided to get glib with #notguilty during a high-profile murder case? Coffee cake won’t fix that faux pas. On the other hand, there are no hard and fast rules to trendjacking. It can be worth the risk—like Google’s global greeting card for the #RoyalBaby or JELL-O’s controversial but buzzworthy #FML hijack. The bottom line? If you’re going to trendjack, do your homework, be prepared to handle backlash, and monitor, monitor, monitor.
Think of general hashtags like #donuts or #donutshop like general search terms. Yes, they will put your company’s post in front of the masses, but they don’t really improve your connection with the people willing to talk about your brand. A specific made-by-you hashtag, however, is more like a targeted ad campaign. Promote #DonutsForDinner and your existing fans will collectively deliver a whole world of brand-specific content to their own networks (read: soon-to-be fans of yours). Whether it’s an Instagram gallery of strangers’ donut meals or a long list of Tweeps upping their caloric intake with your tasty product, the conversation is 100% about YOU.
Think beyond your brand for a minute. If a consumer clicks on your gym’s #LetsGetSweaty hashtag, what else will they see in that list? And does that help or hurt your brand? Find out before you tag, not after.
And then look at it again. See if someone else can catch a red flag you’re not seeing. We’ve seen some grand hashtag mishaps that happen in a hurry, including Susan Boyle’s recent international record release and an unfortunate mixup that left readers wondering if it was Cher or Margaret Thatcher in the morgue. #susanalbumparty or #nowthatcherisdead anyone?
Don’t ask the public to join in the conversation if you have reason to believe they might run toward the opposite goalpost. McDonald’s asked the Twittersphere for their dining experiences– #McDStories– back in 2012, and they didn’t get glowing recommendations. Who saw that coming? Everybody except McDonald’s. Even your most loyal fan won’t cover for your brand’s shortcomings. Play to your strengths, period.
Keep it short, memorable, and easy to spell. Think #OpeningAtAmys vs #amysartgallery. Capitalization is your friend (just ask Cher and Susan Boyle), and the social media universe gives bonus points for hashtags that can be used in a sentence.
Hashtags only work for brands when consumers use them, so you’d better tell your fans what to do with yours. Do you want feedback on a product? Asking for content? Seeking advocates for a cause? Holding a contest? Give them a reason to use what you’ve made. With the right call to action, your hashtag is a conversation starter that can earn you a spot in social feeds around the globe; without direction, it’s nothing more than a misplaced pound sign.
I have posted something similar way back when, but as the use of Twitter and hashtags has, like most other social media channels grown over the last couple of years, it is worth posting again.
Now I make no claims to being a Twitter/Hashtag expert, far from it. So in lieu of actual hands on information, I have gathered the best information I could find on the subject. So a special thanks to the folks at Hashtag.org for helping a girl out!
A hashtag is simply a phrase or keyword that is preceded by a pound (#) symbol and used by the micro-blogging community to create a thread of conversations around a specific theme or topic.
The purpose of the hashtag is to categorize topics, bring ideas together, inspire exchange and encourage others to join in. And because the conversations under hashtags, or any other part of the social networking community for that matter, are not regulated, micro-bloggers have more freedom to express what they want.
This is why hashtag usage is very popular in the likes ofTwitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and other social networking platforms that read hashtags. You can find a list of the most popular hashtags at certain times atHashtags.org.
Limitations on Hashtag Characters
You only need to add a # before a word to make it hashtag. However, because a Tweet is only limited to under 140 characters, the best hashtags are those composed of a single word or a few letters. Twitter experts recommend keeping the keyword under 6 characters.
Use only numbers and letters in your keyword. You may use an underscore but do this sparingly for aesthetic reasons. Hyphens and dashes will not work.
Hashtags do not support spaces. So if you’re using two words, skip the space. For example, hashtags for following the US election are tagged as #USelection, not $US election.
No Special Characters
Hashtags only work with the # sign. Special characters like “!, $, %, ^, &, *, +, .” will not work. Twitter recognizes the pound sign and then converts the hashtag into a clickable link.
Don’t Start With or Use Only Numbers
Hashtags like #123 won’t work, so don’t use only numbers. Similarly, #123yo doesn’t work. But numbers are great for recurring events like #conference2012 or #SXSW12.
Be careful with slang
Slang words can mean different things in different countries, so be very mindful about the words you use. Effective hashtags are those that are concise, direct to the point and very relatable across cultures.
For a hashtag to serve its purpose and generate a following, don’t pepper your post with more than two hashtags. Overuse is annoying and defies general social media etiquette. You don’t want to be accused of being a hard seller, don’t you?
Read more are about hashtags in Why Use Hashtags?