In previous “Little Blog Book of Twitter” entries, I gave you a general overview of Twitter and helped you craft the perfect tweet. In this installment, we’ll do a deep dive into the art of slinging those Twitter hashtags with the best of them.
You say you’re not too familiar with using hashtags? Just think of them as keywords or phrases that, when combined with a pound sign symbol (#), help make your tweets easily searchable on Twitter. And by the way, never include spaces between words in a hashtag phrase, or you’ll lose everything after the first word…
Tip #1 – Before You Can Hash It Out, You’ve Got to Research: There are bountiful ways to determine the hashtag words, phrases, and abbreviations that make sense for your tweeting goals. Look at the hummingbird-like tweets chirped by professionals/peers in your industry. Observe what hashtags they use when promoting a tweet with an embedded link.
Just by looking at a one-to-two-day snapshot of @AuthorAlliance’s Twitter feed, I gleaned the following hashtags: #readers, #books, #authors, #newrelease, #mustread, #goodreads, #suspense, #youngadult (also #YA and #yalit), #kindle, #nook, #bookparty, and more.
If your tweets relate to daily news and events, scan the Trends box on your Twitter account’s Home page for more hashtag suggestions. Other tools you can bookmark for researching hashtags include search.twitter.com, hashtags.org, hashtagify.me, and hashtag.it.
Tip #2 – The Hashtag Placement’s the Thing: I used to put my hashtags anywhere I d@mn pleased when I first started tweeting, but now I know better. I’ve observed that the most effective Twitter users place hashtags at the end of their tweets. The formula is usually: message/copy, embedded link, and then hashtag(s).
Most online articles suggest using no more than two or three hashtags so you’re not viewed as a Twitter graffiti artist. Remember, you get only 140 characters IN TOTAL – hashtags are included in your tweet’s full character count, so generate them wisely.
Tip #3 – Amplify Your Brand Equity Via Unique Hashtags: Companies like McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, and Hershey’s do it. Inbound marketing companies like HubSpot and Vocus do it for webinars and tweet chats. You can do it too!
To gain some traction for your strategic conversations or marketing campaigns on Twitter, consider creating a unique hashtag. For example, if I want my blog post tweets to possibly earn more Retweets and Favorites on Twitter, I could add #BAWBlogNJ or #BAWBlogSJ each time I tweet a blog post.
Before releasing your custom hashtag, it’s best to go into Twitter and search on your creation to ensure it doesn’t already exist. Once your clever hashtag clears all hurdles, you can register it via a hashtag directory site like Twubs.
Tip #4 – Beware the Dreaded Hashtag Faux Pas (#OyVey): It’s grand to use a hashtag to promote your event or product/service. Just make sure the way you format it doesn’t create a PR fiasco for you or your business. Hashtags aren’t case sensitive, but using capital letters for a multi-word hashtag can prevent embarrassing, unintentional boo boos.
Remember that nice Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who looked “hausfrau stodgy” on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 but wowed the judges with her operatic voice? Here’s what happened in 2012 when her PR people attempted to promote her new album via #susanalbumparty.
In this instance, using all lower-case letters made the difference between a straightforward album launch and Su’s (virtual) kinky sex orgy! Read up about other outstanding hashtag mishaps you should avoid (such as the infamous #McDStories negative-commenting deluge).
Engineering a lovingly crafted word or phrase with a pound sign in front of it isn’t such a simple thing. If you use hashtags on Twitter, what positive or negative results have you encountered after some steady tweeting? What other advice or suggestions would you add to my little blog book? I’ll leave you with a final hashtag inspired by the Harry Potter books: #ConstantVigilance!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!