If you have been on Twitter (or even Facebook) lately, you may have noticed a strange occurrence. A word or an unspaced series of words preceded by the number sign. It may look something like this: #hashtag or #hashtagsarecool. These are known as hashtags and are a popular Twitter trend.
The hashtag is used to mark a keyword or topic in a tweet. They were developed to simply create groupings on Twitter. You can find subjects you are interested in and easily follow the conversation. To start following a subject, use the search box or click a hashtag in a tweet. Clicking a hashtag will show you other recent tweets that include that hashtag.
I have seen the hashtag for quite some time, but didn’t really understand the power of it until I attended WordCamp in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Upon my arrival, I received a name tag and the host team pointed out the hashtag #wcfay printed on it. Honestly, I wondered why it was so important that it was on my name tag for easy access. About the middle of the day, I hopped on Twitter to check out the hashtag and there were a ton of tweets from the other attendees. In an instant, I could see what others were saying about the sessions, quotes and tips from the presenters, important information about the conference and much more. I could not believe how simple it was to follow the conversation about the conference. I didn’t have to be following all of the attendees. I didn’t have to scroll through my entire timeline to catch just a few posts about the conference. The whole conversation was on a single page. What a great tool!
I most recently noticed the hashtag while my husband and I watched the premier of New Girl yesterday. Barely visible in the bottom corner of the television screen was the hashtag #newgirl. If you weren’t looking for it, you may not have noticed it. Now, if you search #newgirl on Twitter, you will see hundreds of tweets raving about the show.
Hashtags are used to tag subject matters, current events, entertainment, activities, businesses, opinions and even emotions. Quickly glancing through my timeline I see the following hashtags: #ugh, #sytycd, #inthestudio, #newfacebook, #quote, #twittertip, #lol, #sushi, #winning, #netflix, and #stopwhining. Hashtags can be used for anything.
Now that you understand what a hashtag is, it is time to answer the burning question. Can hashtags benefit my business?
The answer is YES! Here are a few simple ways you could use hashtags to enhance your business.
- Follow The Conversation-Search subjects relevant to your business.
- Join The Conversation-Use the relevant hashtags in your tweets.
- Start A Conversation-Create hashtags relevant to your business and encourage followers to chime in.
- Use Trending Hashtags-Discover popular hashtags and employ them in your tweets.
These methods help focus your efforts on Twitter. It makes it easier to connect with twitterers that are or could be interested in your product or service. It also makes it easier for people to discover you! Have fun using hashtags in your tweets and come back to let us know what worked for you.