We’ve seen some updates to Twitter for mobile users recently which includes moving the trending topics to the search page for IOS and Android users. Users will also see some contextual information on the trending topic as well as the volume of tweets.
Here is what the new search page looks like on IOS and Android:
This got me thinking about hashtags. Are you using them? Probably, but are you using them correctly? Maybe not.
The first use of hashtags to identify topics and groups was in 2007 when Chris Messina suggested #barcamp to gather groups together.
Tagging was embraced by Twitter who included the linking feature in 2009. Hashtags spread to Instagram in January 2011, G+ in October 2011, Flickr in March 2013 and Facebook on June 2013.
Including hashtags in your tweets links them up with the broader conversation. When a hashtag becomes popular, it is said to be ‘trending’.
By cleverly targeting certain hashtags you’ll be more likely to start conversations, increase your engagement and ultimately get more followers.
First let’s go over some hashtag basics:
a single word of short phrase with no spaces
don’t start with or only use numbers
no special characters like !^*
underscores technically are ok, but don’t work well conversationally
use uppercase letters to break up the words #BloggingTips
use 1 or 2 per tweet, maybe 3 if necessary #but #not #every #word
make sure it’s relevant and that you’re adding to the conversation, nobody likes hashtag spam
Joining in on trends:
Keeping an eye on trending topics is a fascinating way to see what people are engaging with across different areas of the globe. Topics trend depending on location. You can adjust what you’re seeing to find out what’s trending “worldwide” or just in the “United States” and so on. This certainly doesn’t mean you should engage with everything, just what’s relevant to you or your business. Remember your tweets are published for all to see. Almost every month there is an article on Mashable or BuzzFeed about a Twitter blunder made by individuals or businesses. So tread carefully and avoid making a Twitter faux pas.
be cautious of chiming in on sensitive topics, and never use them to sell
research why the hashtag is trending before jumping on board - the latest Twitter mobile update certainly helps with this.
have something unique to add to the conversation
and have fun, be genuine and enjoy the ride!
Think about format
If, like us, you’re tweeting about SEO, digital marketing, etc, then use #SEO #DigitalMarketing #Blogging #PPC. Your message will probably contain those words so you can hashtag them in your message, or add the hashtag to the end of the message. Here are some drafts I came up with which show this versatility.
Here are some great tips on how to increase your blog traffic [link] #SEO #blogging
Here are some #bloggingtips on how #SEO can increase your traffic [link]
How I used #SEO to increase my #blog traffic [link]
#blogging is hard work, make sure you’re getting enough traffic [link] #SEO
I have found that mixing up my hashtag format can give me a new insight into the message and it also helps to save on precious characters.
Hashtags to get your through the week
While it’s important to remain relevant, you can think laterally about what you’re offering in your tweet.
So why not try chopping in a trending hashtag that creates a bit of intrigue.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to fully understand the context of the hashtag, don’t use sensitive trending topics to promote yourself or your business.
Thankfully, this is where weekly hashtags come in handy. They are generally fun, lighthearted and everyone can get involved. So let’s mix in #MondayMotivation into our previous tweet draft.
Essential #SEO tips for #bloggers [link] #MondayMotivation
If you need some #MondayMotivation check out my #SEO #bloggingtips [link]
Don’t get the #MondayBlues get more blog traffic with these #SEOtips [link]
The last one looks like a winner because it only has 2 hashtags which is the preferent amount according to Twitter etiquette, and should get you maximum engagement according to a study by Buddy Media.
Here are some other popular hashtags that you can chime in on. Remember to have fun with it and keep an eye on your Twitter analytics to see what works best for you.
Use these to share a picture of a vintage product within your industry, or a screengrab of how your site used to look when you first set it up, or your first YouTube video.
Use it in a tweet about what pearls of wisdom have some your way recently, or link to a blog post about lessons learned.
A good one for your latest blog post
Be candid about a set back to a project, or share a big achievement you’re proud of
How is your inbox looking? Have you found a quote that resonates with you and perhaps your followers?
What great free tool is invaluable to your daily routine? Why not give them a shout out?
Here are some examples of how weekly tags can be used effectively to promote the human side of your business.
@BlotsandPlots combines #WritersWednesday with a link and an image
Using weekly hashtags in your tweets helps you reach people interested in those topics, encourages people to retweet, establishes you as an authority and helps people find your tweet and profile through search.
Spotted a clever way to use a trending hashtag?
Tweet us @wordtracker and I'll add them to this post...
A Rum brand points disgruntled commuters towards a local BBQ Smokehouse to forget their worries:
Looking for more hashtags?
Is your thirst not quenched by the weekly trending topics? hashtagify.me is a great tool for researching tags and how they connect to each other. You can research your product, industry or festive events.
Once you’ve mastered trending hashtags think about creating and nurturing one of your very own. But be warned, sometimes a carefully crafted marketing campaign can go from hashtag to bashtag in a flash. I would advise reading these examples to learn from the worst.
I hope this helps you discover and use more hashtags. Are you following @wordtracker yet?
Let me know what hashtags you use regularly in the comments below.