How to Use Twitter Hashtags #
Hashtags signify that a Tweet belongs to a particular conversation on Twitter. Like tags on Flickr or blogs, hashtags group Tweets together, even if the Tweeters are not in the same network. By organizing tweets around a hashtag, users following and participating in a conversation can find all Tweets about that subject by searching.
To signify a tag, place a hash symbol (#) before a description within a Tweet. Hashtags can be used for an ongoing trend (#followfriday lets users suggest interesting people to their network that may be worth following) or a single event (#superbowl).
Identifying a Hashtag
Hashtags can be used to organize conversations around a particular event (conferences, a television program) or a popular topic of conversation (the Iran election, balloon boy). Twitter.com publishes the most talked about topics on their homepage. Twubs.com and Hashtag.org offer lists of widely used hashtags. While tags can often be difficult to define, services like Tagalus or What The Trend offer brief definitions of popular tags.
Starting a Hashtag
Select a short and simple tag. (#SEO, #followfriday) A hashtag does take up characters in your Tweet, so choose something clear, yet snappy. Search Twitter for your chosen tag to see if it already exists. If it exists and relates to your idea, consider using the same tag to widen the audience. Otherwise, alter your tag for your specific needs.
Establish the hashtag in a Tweet. Give the hashtag context – tell your users how and when to use the tag. If the hashtag will be used for a time sensitive event, announce the hashtag a day or so beforehand to alert your followers that the tag exists. Don’t forget to use the actual tag at the end of the Tweet.
Use the hashtag in the lead-up to the event so followers understand the use of the particular tag.
Tracking a Hashtag
Once a hashtag is in place, it is important to see who else is using it.
You can watch a conversation that uses a hashtag by searching for the tag on using Twitter Search. Search results will show those Tweeters using the hashtag, even if you do not follow them directly.
Make a widget of the search results so that followers engaged in the conversation can easily see the Tweet stream.
Many Twitter applications (such as TweetDeck or Seesmic) offer an option to create a list based on a hashtag, so the tagged conversation can live next to the other Tweet streams you already read.
You may also track your tag (or popular trend tags) using services like Monitter or TwitterFall. These sites are best for watching trending topics, rather than smaller tag use.
Try Search for: #bizbuzz #social #blogs #twitter #networking #infotechusa #wordpress … on twitter
Although not terribly complicated, hashtags have some unwritten rules. The primary one to remember: don’t overuse them. If every one of your tweets IS a hashtag, you dilute the usefulness of them by fragmenting the conversation. In addition, many people will shy away from you because it seems spammy.
Another simple tip: give your hashtag context. Most people won’t actually know what your hashtag means, so give a quick explanation in one of your tweets or, if you’re making a hashtag, make it very apparent what it’s talking about.
If you’re looking to create a hashtag, be sure that it adds value for yourself and your followers. The best way to utilize them is when you need to organize information. Conferences, major events, and even reminders (i.e. #todo) can help organize specific tweets and make life easier on you and your followers.