Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hashtag 101

Ahh, the sweet sound of hashtags
Pretty soon after you sign up for a Twitter account you’ll start noticing a whole lotta hashtagging going on. There is no hashtag police (that I know of) who will arrest you for using hashtags the “wrong” way, but it’s always helpful to know how to use them to benefit not only your company but also to enhance your experience as a Twitter user.

First of all, if you post a tweet like this:

"Longest day ever! #sofreakingtiredcantwaitforbedzomgimgonnadie" ….

Some might say you used your hashtag incorrectly. While this is debatable as there are no actual rules or governing hashtag authority, there’s also no real point to using a hashtag in this way either. Other than trying to be funny, no one is ever going to use that hashtag again or search for it, which is the point of using a hashtag in the first place. 

However, there are a few ways you can use hashtags that will engage your followers and encourage interaction.

Hashtagging for a cause. If there’s a particular cause, charity, or organization you are interested in, putting their name as a hashtag in your tweet is a good way to show your support and talk to other people who are also interested in this cause. If you’re a business owner, don’t forget that engaging your followers doesn’t mean only talking to them about your products or services. Talk to them about similar interests and build trust and loyalty – two essential ingredients for success.

Entice followers with a contest. Want to keep track of conversations about your brand? Run a contest and give it a hashtag that you created specifically for it. This way, all of the people interested in your contest will use the same hashtag, which enables not only the community to interact with each other but also lets you keep track of what people are saying and who is engaging with your brand. I may have forgotten to note that when you use a hashtag, it becomes a clickable link, which goes to a page that shows only results for people using the same hashtag.

Chat about your interests
. Love a certain TV show? Find their official Twitter page and use the hashtags they designate for each episode. For example, as a True Blood fan myself, a Trubie, if you will, I can use not only the hashtag #trueblood but the specific hashtag they dictate for each episode. Last week’s episode was hashtagged #souloffire and the week before was #burning. By using those hashtags when you talk about the show, you can click on the hashtags and go read what everyone else on Twitter is saying about that episode. This gives you a unique way to interact with people who share your interests.

Here’s the Wikipedia article on hashtags for more info and another helpful article titled:  How to Use Twitter Hashtags.

While Twitter is a great way to promote your products and services and get to know your followers, you’ll still want to make sure your website is getting found on the search engines. If you could use a little help, let Voice of North America help you increase your linkbacks by driving relevant traffic to your site.

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