As Twitter soars in popularity, it’s important for users to understand effective Twitter techniques, especially when it comes to hashtags. Hashtags are the letters that follow the # sign in a tweet and are used to mark, aggregate and track keywords or topics. Contrary to popular belief, Twitter’s users (not their inventors), created the hashtag – with Google employee Chris Messina officially dubbed the “hashtag godfather.” However, if not properly used, hashtags can cause confusion for your followers.
To help keep your hashtags organized and your followers on the same page, here are five tips to creating an effective hashtag:
- #KeepItShort. One of the most common mistake users make with a hashtag is to write a complete thought or an entire sentence. Nothing is more confusing (or frustrating) than trying to decide what a hashtag says when it’s an entire sentence. #ThisIsPoorEtiquetteForAnyTwitterUser.
- #BeConsistent. If you use a hashtag one day and not the other, your customers may miss certain tweets. Therefore, if you have a hashtag for your brand, be sure to include it in every tweet.
- #StayRelevant. Just as you should avoid putting out useless content, you should avoid creating unnecessary hashtags, like #WeLikeCandy. Not only does it hurt your brand, but it can also be perceived as a marketing ploy to enter specific trending topics for no apparent reason.
- #Promote. Just like any other product or service, if you do not promote your hashtag, people may not notice it or understand its purpose. So push your hashtag consistently so your followers can pick up on it.
- #Categorize. When deciding on which hashtag to use, look into how the hashtag is currently being used in the Twitterverse. You may be surprised by the tweets that are joining yours in a specific hashtag list.
For additional information about hashtag dos and don’ts, read Ragan’s PR Daily post: “Hashtag basics: Why they work, and why they fail.” Then share your most effective hashtag hints below.