A few days ago, I asked on my Facebook Page and Twitter if people used hashtags when they were Tweeting. I was surprised to see people respond either that they didn’t know how to use hashtags, or even that they didn’t know what they were. After reading this article, even the most inexperienced hashtag user will be using them with ease.
What Are Hashtags? I Thought That Was the Number Symbol!
Well, technically it is. You may have seen tweets with the number symbol, # , inserted into them, usually followed by a word or phrase. In Twitterspeak, this symbol is called a hashtag. Hashtags are used to group tweets together, so that when someone is looking for the tweets on one subject, they can easily find them. When using a hashtag, a phrase or word is attached directly to the symbol as a means to categorize the tweet. Probably the hashtag that most users are familiar with is the #FF hashtag, which indicates a Follow Friday tweet. By adding #FF to your Follow Friday tweet, that tweet is automatically included in the larger stream of Follow Friday tweets. Hashtags are also often used for searching. For example, you could search #ipad and you would find all the tweets which have included the #ipad hashtag.
How Do I Use #Hashtags?
Using hashtags is easy. If you want to categorize your tweet into a certain category, simply add the hashtag (#) with the keyword attached to it. So for example, if I am going to tweet Sir Scrapalot Designs products, I can add #sirscrapalot to the tweet, and that tweet will be categorized with other tweets that use the hashtag. When choosing a keyword or phrase, it’s important to think about how easy it is to use, and the length of the keyword since it will count towards your 140 character count. Popular hashtags that digiscrappers use are #digiscrap or #digitalscrapbooking.
You can also use hashtags for searching. In the Twitter search box, you can enter a hashtag and a keyword, and all of the tweets that use that hashtag will come up. For example, if you want to find all of the Tweets about the first episode of the Paperclipping Digi Show, you would search #pds1. In the results you’ll find all the tweets people have done about the first episode of the Paperclipping Digi Show.
A Few Things to Watch Out For
There are a few things that you need to watch out for when you are using hashtags. First and foremost, is to make sure you aren’t using hashtags to promote spam. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that every time you use a hashtag in a tweet it is directly related to the tweet itself. Adding unrelated hashtags to your tweets may get more people to look at the tweet, but this is considered spamming. Also, hashtags should be used sparingly. A good rule of thumb is to only include one or two in a related tweet. As long as you are using hashtags appropriately, you will be fine.
Secondly, if you are using a hashtag for a certain event or specific product, check to see if the event or product already has a hashtag associated with it. By doing this, you are sure that your tweets will be categorized with other tweets about that subject. For example, to tweet about Paperclipping Digi Show, you should add the hashtag #pds followed by the episode number. So for episode 1, you would use the hashtag #pds1.
Some Hashtags You May Want to Use
- #pds(episode number)
- #sirscrapalot (tweet about me or my blog!)
Once you get the hang of them, hashtags can be easy to use, and useful. The most important advice I have about them is to stay genuine, and only use hashtags when they make sense and are applicable to the tweet.