Mastering the Hashtag in 2014

Hashtags, once a symbol of little meaning, have become immensely important in the last few years. For both businesses and individuals, hashtags provide a new way to connect with likeminded people and a new way to gain recognition.

If you have not yet mastered the hashtag, now is the time to do it. Understanding and being able to utilize hashtags properly can make a big difference in your business’s Twitter presence and reception by the general public. Here are some tips to help you with hashtag usage and etiquette:

Don’t Go Overboard

Stacking your tweets with hashtags is only going to spread each one too thin and turn off viewers. Use two or three hashtags per tweet at the absolute most. You want to be committed to the ideas shared with each hashtag, thus potentially attracting more followers through those channels. Throwing out hashtags for the sake of having hashtags will do you little good.

Say, for example, you’re tweeting on behalf of your construction software company. Incorporate just two relevant hashtags, preferably ones that are experiencing high traffic, like “#Construction” and “#SafetyMatters.” These hashtags create something similar to a search engine, with only relevant tweets appearing within them. By using the hashtags correctly, you can attract people perusing those keywords to your Twitter account, and then – hopefully – to your company’s website.

Jump on Board With Relevant Keywords

If you’ve noticed a lot of activity on a keyword – or hashtag – that is relevant to your website or blog, hop aboard. People that are perusing a page dedicated to that concept are more likely to be interested in your business, making for a great target audience.

So do some research, find out what’s trending and throw a popular, relevant hashtag into your tweet in order to gain some positive attention and maybe even some followers.

Create Your Own Hashtag

Creating your own hashtag and gaining interest in said hashtag can be difficult. You want it to be something clear, memorable and relevant. Utilizing a hashtag correctly can effectively create conversation about your product or service, and thus add humanization and personality to your company.

You need to somehow advertise your new hashtag, or it will float around in limbo with no one caring about it. If you’re on a limited budget, get creative. Posters, sidewalk chalk and stickers are examples of ways to spread the word about your hashtag.

Another way to create interaction with your hashtag is to create a competition. If people need to enter your keyword in order to be entered, the incentive will get people checking you out.

Warning: you don’t want to go overboard with hashtag creation. Just as filling individual tweets with hashtags is distracting and ineffective, creating multiple to represent your website or blog can also hinder your efforts. Create a single one, and put all of your efforts into that.

Be Aware of Possible Miscomprehension

There have been situations in which companies and individuals start their own hashtags, and they’re misinterpreted. Susan Boyle, for instance, faced some humiliation with her hashtag: #susanalbumparty.

Be aware of all the ways your hashtag can be read, and use capital letters when necessary to differentiate between words. Capitalization is essentially your only option in doing so – no punctuation is allowed within hashtags. Here are other things you can and cannot do with your hashtags:

Things you can do:

  • Throw in some numbers
  • Capitalize your words to separate them from one another
  • Invent your own hashtags
  • Place your hashtags in the beginning, middle, end – or all three – of your tweet
  • Use three or less hashtags per tweet

Things you can’t do:

  • Put spaces in between words within your hashtag
  • Utilize punctuation marks or special characters
  • Spamming

Another tip: be sure that you’re not confusing @ – which is a reply to a single user – and # – which sends your post out for many to see.

Hopefully these hints put you on track – if you were lost. All people in the website and blog world can benefit from correctly utilizing hashtags, so have fun and #GoodLuck.

 

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Courtney Gordner

Courtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist with a passion for writing and the latest trends online. You can read more from her on her own blog or connect with her on Google+.
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