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The hashtag. Often misunderstood. Often misused. Sometimes abused. But once you understand it’s power, life will never be the same!

  If you go to the Twitter support page, you’ll find the following definition:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Hmmm…correct. But dull. Hashtags are used for branding, for bringing together a group of like-minded individuals, to allow groups to congregate at the same time anywhere in the world and have, basically a live conference. Let’s look at some examples. If you were to go to your twitter account and put the following in the search field: #sochi2014 , you would get a list of all the folks around the world tweeting about the Olympics in 2014. If you had done this from the beginning of the Olympics, you could have interacted with all kinds of people that you agreed with, disagreed with, or just shared an affinity for bobsledding with. You might have been one of the first people to know that the Jamaican team had their bobsled stolen. Or one of the first people to know the 5th snowflake never turned into an Olympic ring. Which may have led you to The Daily Currant tweet and you may have had to read it twice to realize it was a joke in very poor taste. {I’m a big fan of jokes made in poor taste.} However,  you might be inclined to be less silly than myself and want to accomplish some real work on Twitter.

Let’s say you’re the social media manager for an Emergency Management office [Which I was at the time of this writing.]. At a predetermined time and day of the week  (by predetermined, I mean you told all your Emergency Manger friends to get on Twitter and use a specific hashtag at a specific date and time), you all use #smemchat and voila! You are basically having a free conference call. What if you missed the timeframe? Search #smemchat and see what happened while you were drinking your latte at Starbucks. Or drill down. Maybe you’re an Emergency Manager, but you’re concerned about the drought in California and not so much about floods in Texas. Rude I know, but that’s how I roll. So you and your dry buddies get together and say “Hey! Let’s all use #CADrought. Super. Then you can later search on just that particular kind of emergency. Ok, I can’t resist. Here’s my favorite Emergency Manager Twitter Video:

But, “Liz”, you might say, “how is Twitter going to make me world famous?”

But, Liz, you might say, how is Twitter going to make me world famous? Click To Tweet

Well, it probably won’t. However, choosing the right hashtag, using it consistently with a tweet that your target audience finds interesting, will get you a lot of followers. A lot of followers times 2 eyeballs each, gets you a lot of views. (Math is not my strong suit.) A lot of views increases your chances for a sale. But just like in real life, you need to talk to people and not just at them. So don’t think of a catchy hashtag and then use it in a lot of hard sell style tweets where you’re just jabbering about how great you think you are.

Before you commit to the hashtag you’ve thought of, go to the Twitter search field and use it. See what comes up. Is this a group of people you could grow to like? That could grow to like you? Follow them. Join in their conversation. Engage. That means you hit reply on a tweet you find interesting and you say something relevant. Or click on the favorite button to show you were there and you thought what that person tweeted was kinda cool.

When choosing  your hashtag, make sure you are building your content around that hashtag and that it’s relevant to your industry and target audience. For example, I use #LizsTips for my social media tips which are geared for real estate agents and the small business person not all that comfortable using social media. Since I’ve become unaccustomed to typing more than 140 characters at one sitting, I’ll wrap this up with a few Twitter Do’s & Don’ts.

DOs

  • Do follow me at @AskForLiz

DON’Ts

  • Don’t fill your bio up with a bunch of hashtags. It hurts my eyes.
  • Don’t use an auto responder when someone follows you.
  • Don’t automatically follow everyone that follows you.
  • Don’t follow an egg. You don’t know what he’ll hatch into.
  • If I follow you, don’t send me a message right back trying to sell me something.

Twitter is currently my favorite social media platform, so if I’m not here I’m sure you’ll be able to find me at http://www.twitter.com/AskForLiz. If you have any questions about this post or about social media in general, tweet me @AskForLiz and use the hashtag #HashtagsMatter. I’ll find ya!

Interested in learning more about how using hashtags will increase your business’ bottomline and your popularity? Visit https://masteringhashtags.com .

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