The Power Of Hashtags On Twitter

Hashtags are the world’s chat room. Where else can you hop on the phone or computer and have an instant, passionate conversation about something that shares a hashtag? When it comes to primetime television, current events, or sports events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl, hashtags allow anyone with a Twitter account to take part in a universal conversation about a group topic.

Photo Courtesy of PRSarahEvans.com

Besides TV shows, news, or sports stories, harnessing the power of hashtags can lead to serious exposure and gains for a business or individual.

For example, Sarah Evans of PR Sarah Evans hosts #journchat, a weekly twitter chat using that hashtag for journalists, PR professionals, and bloggers to discuss topics and questions related to the industry.

This weekly “tweet-up” has helped Sarah Evans become a recognized and respected social media and public relations consultant, named as one of Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter.

Utilizing Evans’ ability to provide a place for journalists, PRs, and bloggers to talk about topics they are passionate about can help businesses create a community for enlightening conversation in the company’s industry.

Larger companies can host tweet-ups with a custom hashtags to answer customer questions. Hashtags not only allow for an easy way for others and those involved to keep track of the conversation, but they also allow more exposure for the hashtag itself—by being included in a user’s tweet, his or her followers will see the hashtag and this may cause them to start participating in the conversation.

Graphic Courtesy of http://www.recruitingreach.com

If the hashtag includes the company’s name, this provides name exposure and recognition.

Additionally, if a user RTs a company’s tweet that includes the hashtag as well, the company is not only getting an @ mention, but their hashtag remains visible.

Clearly, making weekly hashtag tweet-ups part of a company’s overall Twitter strategy can help build community and increase social media brand exposure.

Another way to utilize hashtags is in social media campaigns is when running a promotion or contest. Give Twitter users an entry for every tweet they send that includes the hashtag.

Running a non-profit campaign is also a successful way to raise money for causes the company believes in while also gaining @ mentions:

 

Whether it is hosting a tweet-up, answering customer questions, running a giveaway, or raising money for a good cause, utilizing hashtags can help businesses keep track of conversations, raise brand awareness, and garner ideas from other Twitter members for new products or ideas.

Photos Courtesy of: PRSarahEvans.com, Recruiting Reach and @Wonderwall7 (me on Twitter!)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social

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About The Author: runs her own social media and search marketing business, MoxieDot, where she helps clients grow their online presence. She was voted one of the top 100 marketers of the year by Invesp in 2009 and has worked for Yelp, Run.com, and Bounty Towels.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+



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  • http://sevansstrategy.com Sarah Evans

    Thank you for the mention! Best, Sarah :)

  • Wayne Black

    Great comments on the use of hashtags. I use them a lot and see that a lot of people do not understand the value and power of properly thought out hashtags.
    Great article and even better by using a great example such as Sarah!

  • http://www.contentmarketing.dk Joakim Ditlev

    Good examples – I use hashtags a lot, too. My favorite example is the #ashtag that helped me getting back to Europe during the Icelandic ashcloud last year.
    However, hashtags are for advanced users of Twitter. Would not recommend to use it for customer service, etc it unless you are sure it fits with your target audience. They need to be familiar with it.

  • http://www.cultureconnectexpert.com Horlemann E.

    I’m new in Hashtags on twitter, but learning very quickly as it is fascinating. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  • Michele Yahr

    Gret post as I’m fairly new to the hashtag concept as well. Is there a recommended resource for finding hashtags or making sure the tag you chooe is original?

  • http://charlesbivona.com Charles Bivona

    Solid advice, and very well written–thank you for my first enjoyable read of the day. =)

  • http://thesocialrobot.com Kelsey Jones

    Thanks for all the positive comments everyone! Michele, I don’t know of a recommended resource, I just do keyword research and search for the hashtag on Twitter.

  • http://thandy.org/ Tristan Handy

    Hi Kelsey! I love / totally agree with the best practices you describe here. I also wanted to share some research I did recently on the same topic to hopefully add another dimension to the conversation.

    It turns out that a lot of companies are doing what I call “hashtag stuffing”, similar to “keyword stuffing” in days prior to PageRank. Based on my large-N study of 37,000+ tweets from 100+ corporate Twitter accounts, I found that this practice *does not work*. Hashtag posts actually *underperform* posts without hashtags on an aggregate basis.

    More details in the full text of the study, found here:
    http://socialmediab2b.com/2011/07/b2b-twitter-hashtag-stuffing-data/

  • http://www.sproutsocial.com Brittany Morse

    Great post, Kelsey! I think hashtags can be a great marketing tool and can create buzz when used correctly. However, like Tristan said, if they’re abused or misused then they’re going to underperform and probably annoy most of you followers.

    Brittany Morse | http://sproutsocial.com

  • http://roshanjoshi.com.np Roshan Joshi

    RT #hashtags along with lists and @mentions make Twitter a powerful communication tool.

  • http://thesocialrobot.com Kelsey Jones

    Thanks for the follow-up study Tristan!

  • http://www.lauraalisanne.com lauraalisanne

    Great job of providing the “What” of hashtags Kelsey, thank you. Could you point me to a source for the “How?” In other words, if I own a company, which has a Twitter account, and would like to create a tweet-up on a specific topic, say while conducting a webinar, and I want to provide my attendees with an opportunity to tweet their questions, how would that be done using hashtags? Is this set up in advance on Twitter?
    Thank you for your help and the great article.

  • http://cadoetik.com C.

    Thanks for these tips. Hashtags could be very useful to “identify” your tweets but i’m always worried about the fact that they could be assimilated as spam by Google.
    Anyway, thanks for this clear article.

 

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