Every day, some new trend, application, or celebrity user takes the Twitter world by storm. Some stay, while others fizzle out. Nevertheless, with all the new Twitter trends and applications surfacing, the Twitter-sphere is possibly the fastest evolving social media tool. One of the trends that has come to stay is the hashtag.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They perform a similar function like tags on Flickr, but appear in line with your post. To create a hashtag, simply add the hash symbol before a word, and it immediately becomes a link. This categorizes relevant or related Twitter updates; similar to creating a group. Adding a hashtag in your update increases the chances of your update being viewed by users interested in the topic.
How to use Hashtags?
Before actually creating a hashtag for a topic, search Twitter to see if anyone is talking about the topic using a particular hashtag. If no one has picked up the topic or created a hashtag for it, create your own. Use a hashtag with a relevant word that clearly mentions what the posts are about. For example, #goodnight. In your initial tweets, you could probably explain what the hashtag is for. This way, when people search for the hashtag, they can follow the discussion without being interrupted by other tweets.
Hashtags for PR
Almost anything on the social media can be useful to a PR pro. Why should the Twitter hashtag be any different? A hashtag brings all PR-related tweets together in the same place. This way, you know who are the people interested in PR and related topics. When you use that hashtag in your PR-related updates, you are essentially reaching all these users on Twitter. That’s instant PR! You can also initiate your own conversation or discussion using a hashtag. For example, the hashtag #journchat is a weekly conversation initiated by Sarah Evans between journalists, bloggers and PR professionals. The discussion goes on from 7-10pm CT every Monday. 10 hashtags that PR pros could follow are:
Granted there are no hard and fast rules as to how you use your hashtags. Nevertheless, if you want more people to follow your updates, hashtags can work wonders with a little foresight, orderliness, and planning.
- Always make sure that a hashtag you create does not have an equivalent on Twitter. If it does, it is probably best to use that hashtag, as it already has a head start on the discussion.
- Try not to create hashtags for every update you put up. It only dilutes your updates and makes the whole thing pretty ridiculous.
- Also, a good reason to avoid adding hashtags to everything is because users will almost surely assume that you are spamming!
- Always introduce a new hashtag, as this encourages people to use it when they have something to contribute.
Places to find popular hashtags
The best place to find the most popular hashtags is on hashtags.org. Which means that this is the place to find out whether your hashtag is really trending or not. You can also follow @hashtag on Twitter.
Twemes.com is another useful resource. Here you can find new and interesting hashtags, and the website also offers RSS subscription to any hashtag stream.
Wthashtag.com is a user generated wiki of hashtags. The site explains when the hashtag was first discovered, its description, external links, and live stream using the hashtag.
Get the most out of your hashtags to increase your online visibility.
Some really popular hashtags
Read Up on the Twitter Hashtag: