If you take a look at your Twitter stream, chances are that you will see many tweets with a # symbol in them.  The # symbol in front of a word or phrase is called a hashtag.  Using hashtags in your tweets can help make your business’s tweets more effective and searchable. 

What Are Twitter Hashtags?
Hashtags are defined by the # symbol which is then followed by a word or phrase.  Hashtags can be a person’s name (#oprah) or a commonly used term (#jobs) or something created by you (#myhashtag).  If you click on a hashtag in a tweet, you will see a stream of tweets in real time that all contain that particular hashtag. 

You can find the most popular real-time hashtags in the Trends section on your Twitter home page. 

hashing out hashtags on Twitter Westvyne Marketing

Hashtags have several uses:  
1. A hashtag signals that there is a particular topic to a tweet .  For instance, many recruiters post jobs on Twitter with the hashtag #jobs #hiring.  If you search for either of those terms, you’ll get all of the tweets in real time that contain those hashtags. 

2. You can easily search for particular topics and see all of the tweets that contain  that topic.  Likewise, putting hashtags in your tweets make them more searchable for whatever topic you are tweeting about. 

3. You can create your own hashtags and then ask others to use that hashtag for a particular reason, such as promoting an event or cause.  For instance, when tornados destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri in May, 2011, people who tweeted about the tornado used hashtags such as  #prayforjoplin or #joplintornado  or even just #joplin.  If you were to click on or search for these hashtags, you would see all of the tweets that contained these hashtags.  This is a great way to find tweets that you can re-tweet to your own followers.  Hashtags help tweets become viral.

4. If you have connected your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account, each time you put #in in your tweet, you will also automatically be posting it to your LinkedIn update on your profile.  All of your connections can see it in their network activity. 

5. Hashtags are a great way to find people to follow.  If you want to target a particular industry, type some hashtags into the search bar and see the people who are tweeting about those hashtags.  You can then check out their pages and see if they would be good to follow. 

How Do You Know Which Hashtags to Use?
There really is no right or wrong in using hashtags.  Use the search terms that would be most logical to categorize the content of your tweet. For example, if you are a real estate agent and you want to promote a house in Schaumburg, Illinois, you could use #realestate #schaumburg in your tweet.

Take some time, to observe the tweets of others.  You’ll find that there are many common hashtags already established in the Twitter universe.  For instance: #FF or #followfriday in a tweet is usually followed by a twitter name or a list of names that you recommend other people should follow.  Although #FF can be used any day of the week, it is more often used on Fridays. 

If you want to spend more time researching hashtags, some good sites to use are http://tagal.us and http://hashtags.org.

Westvyne Marketing