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How To Use Hashtags on Twitter

  • 1
  • July 8, 2015

Do you remember the day hashtags were made search-able on Facebook? How To Use Hashtags on Twitter

Perhaps you don’t, <wink> but I definitely do.

Marketers everywhere were convinced they were going to be a deal changer for the platform.

And then nothing. Not really.

Sure, they make your content searchable but I would argue that they aren’t being widely used on the social platform, at least for searching.

That isn’t the case, however, for Instagram and Twitter.

On those platforms, hashtags are popular and thus it’s important to know how to use hashtags on Twitter!

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is simply a keyword or keyword phrase without space that has a hashtag in front of it.

For example: #SocialMedia or #ILoveCali.

What does a hashtag do?

Simply put, hashtags make your content searchable.

Hashtags allow you to add your own content to a larger stream of content that is made up of conversations that include that particular hashtag.free-twitter-ebook-1

So even if Twitter users aren’t connected anywhere, if they are all using the same hashtag their content will be together in that one stream.

The most popular Twitter hashtags often become trending topics, which occurs when large numbers of Twitter users are all tweeting the same hashtag.

Sometimes trending hashtags occur because there is some major national or international event and other times they are completely pointless (you can probably blame bored teens for those hashtags).

Hashtags are great if you are trying to centralize conversations around specific events or campaigns you’re running.

Social Media Examiner does this every year with their annual Social Media Marketing World Event. Their custom hashtag makes it easy for Twitter users to follow and get information from the event, whether they’re present or not.

Best Practices for Using Hashtags

1. Check if it’s original

If you want to tag your content with your own unique hashtag or create a Twitter chat to better engage with your followers, you definitely want to make sure that your hashtag is unique!

Do a search for the hashtag on Twitter search.

Did it come up in the search results? If it does come up, is it being used frequently?

If it does appear frequently you might want to pick something else that’s less common in order to reduce the chances of people who aren’t part of your target audience entering the conversation.

2. Keep it short

If you are creating your own custom hashtag or even if you’re combining industry keywords…make sure you keep your hashtags nice and short.

Why?

So that people can type them into the search field quickly and easily without major risk of typos.

Can you imagine doing a search for #SocialMediaMarketingWorld2015 in Twitter?

And on your mobile phone, no less? Fuhgettaboutit….

3. Pick industry keywords

Use sites like Hashtagify to find keywords that are trending for your niche and choose the one(s) that best applies to your business.

Try to stick with one or two…three max.

It’s completely acceptable to use 10+ hashtags on Instagram…but it’s NOT okay on Twitter.

(And let’s be honest, that many hashtags would probably max out your character limit and make you look like a spammer.)

4. Don’t hijack someone else’s hashtag

Social media etiquette 101. It’s rude to hijack someone else’s audience with the intention of garnering attention for yourself and your company. Don’t do it.

The same is true of jumping on board trending hashtags when they’re trending for sensitive reasons. It’s just in poor taste and will only make you look bad.

Final Thoughts

Definitely take advantage of hashtags and use at least one per tweet.

They increase the likelihood that your content is retweeted, that it’s found by other users searching for great content and it will help you get more quality followers on Twitter.

By following the 4 tips above on how to use hashtags on Twitter you’ll definitely see increased engagement, more followers and better discussions.

Just make sure you keep your hashtags short and sweet and that you practice good Twitter etiquette!

Author Sheena White

Sheena White is a copywriter and social media strategist who helps clients rock their sales copy in order to increase conversions. She also has a copywriting course where she teaches entrepreneurs the strategies they need to write great sales copy.

More posts by Sheena White
  • Gisele J Grenier

    Love this post and didn’t know it was acceptable to use that many hashtags on Instagram. I use Hashtags while tweeting a live radio show for a client and use them for other client postings. I am guilty though of not using hashtags for my own use.

    • Gisele J Grenier

      and I just shared this post on Twitter and what did I forget to do… hashtag it! :<

      • Sheena White

        LOL. There’s always next time Gisele. Thanks for sharing it though!

      • You’re to funny Gisele. You’ll use a Hashtag next time I’m #Sure :) Thanks for visiting ~ Mike

  • Gisele J Grenier

    Love this post and didn’t know it was acceptable to use that many hashtags on Instagram. I use Hashtags while tweeting a live radio show for a client and use them for other client postings. I am guilty though of not using hashtags for my own use.

    • Gisele J Grenier

      and I just shared this post on Twitter and what did I forget to do… hashtag it! :<

      • Sheena White

        LOL. There’s always next time Gisele. Thanks for sharing it though!

      • You’re to funny Gisele. You’ll use a Hashtag next time I’m #Sure :) Thanks for visiting ~ Mike

  • Sharon MacLean

    Thanks for lessons on search. Love, love your blog.

    • Aww you’re awesome Sharon. We try to provide great content and having great writers like Sheena definitely helps :)

  • Sharon MacLean

    Thanks for lessons on search. Love, love your blog.

    • Aww you’re awesome Sharon. We try to provide great content and having great writers like Sheena definitely helps :)

  • Carol Rundle

    Some great information, Michael. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Carol. We love when Sheena writes for us here at Social Quant.

  • Carol Rundle

    Some great information, Michael. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Carol. We love when Sheena writes for us here at Social Quant.

  • Susan Tolles

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! Learned some new things that I’ll certainly be using!

    • Thanks Susan and we appreciate you checking this out. Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Susan Tolles

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! Learned some new things that I’ll certainly be using!

    • Thanks Susan and we appreciate you checking this out. Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Beverley Golden

    Appreciate all the great info in this post! One question I haven’t found an answer to: Is if better to have the hashtag at the end of the tweet or are they equally as effective within the body of the tweet? Often I will hashtag a keyword within the content as I won’t have enough characters to add the hashtagged word again at the end. I do love creating new hashtags and also find any more than 3 in Twitter is just too many! Thanks again for the informative post.

    • Sheena White

      Beverly, it doesn’t really matter where you put them, in the eyes of Twitter. If you can fit the hashtag within the context of the tweet that’s great, since it saves on character space which leaves more room for RTs. Otherwise the end is fine.

    • Great response by Sheena. Definitely pays to leave room for RT’s so if you can include inside and keep the tweet possibly to 120 characters you’ve got a winner.

      Thanks for stopping by Beverley :) ~ Mike

  • Beverley Golden

    Appreciate all the great info in this post! One question I haven’t found an answer to: Is if better to have the hashtag at the end of the tweet or are they equally as effective within the body of the tweet? Often I will hashtag a keyword within the content as I won’t have enough characters to add the hashtagged word again at the end. I do love creating new hashtags and also find any more than 3 in Twitter is just too many! Thanks again for the informative post.

    • Sheena White

      Beverly, it doesn’t really matter where you put them, in the eyes of Twitter. If you can fit the hashtag within the context of the tweet that’s great, since it saves on character space which leaves more room for RTs. Otherwise the end is fine.

    • Great response by Sheena. Definitely pays to leave room for RT’s so if you can include inside and keep the tweet possibly to 120 characters you’ve got a winner.

      Thanks for stopping by Beverley :) ~ Mike

  • Cassandra McIntyre

    Thank you thoroughly explaining hashtags. I am going to use your tips.

    • Sheena White

      Thanks Cassandra!

    • Thanks Cassandra for visiting :)

  • Cassandra McIntyre

    Thank you thoroughly explaining hashtags. I am going to use your tips.

    • Sheena White

      Thanks Cassandra!

    • Thanks Cassandra for visiting :)

  • Great roll up on hashtags.

    I found a few don’t do its via experience:

    I use hashtags regularly and have found out that certain things do not work well in hashtags such as a hashtag with numbers only #1234 will not be hyperlinked nor is it searchable. If you add a letter #1234abc, then you are good to go.

    Another oops I experienced was when I added an exclamation mark inside a hashtag like #hash!tag, everything after the ! gets dropped. This goes for any punctuation mark (!?,.”: and so forth.)

    Since I am an artist I love searching for works of art using hashtags like #painting, #artwit, #sculpture and so forth to see some great art being shared on Twitter. these are sort of a grey area in that many people use these hashtags to post art. They do not seem to belong to any one account. What is your take on these “shared” hashtags?

    • Sheena White

      Those are some great tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Great tips.

      I’m a big fan of searching around my interest using hashtags and I could definitely see with art work it working great for you.

      Thanks for stopping by :) ~ Mike

  • Great roll up on hashtags.

    I found a few don’t do its via experience:

    I use hashtags regularly and have found out that certain things do not work well in hashtags such as a hashtag with numbers only #1234 will not be hyperlinked nor is it searchable. If you add a letter #1234abc, then you are good to go.

    Another oops I experienced was when I added an exclamation mark inside a hashtag like #hash!tag, everything after the ! gets dropped. This goes for any punctuation mark (!?,.”: and so forth.)

    Since I am an artist I love searching for works of art using hashtags like #painting, #artwit, #sculpture and so forth to see some great art being shared on Twitter. these are sort of a grey area in that many people use these hashtags to post art. They do not seem to belong to any one account. What is your take on these “shared” hashtags?

    • Sheena White

      Those are some great tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Great tips.

      I’m a big fan of searching around my interest using hashtags and I could definitely see with art work it working great for you.

      Thanks for stopping by :) ~ Mike

  • Great tips on use of hashtags! I also like to use them for educational purposes – twitter chats around a certain hashtag. Neat way to engage with online students for “office hours” or to get in-classroom grad students, who are often looking at phones and tablets anyway, to ask questions or comment on the topic being discussed. Been an interesting journey!

    • That is so very cool Vickie. Thanks for sharing that with us and watching my kids on their phones I bet you it is a great way to connect with them. (imagine if I chimed in on one of their discussions, they’d probably leave that social site :) )

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Great tips on use of hashtags! I also like to use them for educational purposes – twitter chats around a certain hashtag. Neat way to engage with online students for “office hours” or to get in-classroom grad students, who are often looking at phones and tablets anyway, to ask questions or comment on the topic being discussed. Been an interesting journey!

    • That is so very cool Vickie. Thanks for sharing that with us and watching my kids on their phones I bet you it is a great way to connect with them. (imagine if I chimed in on one of their discussions, they’d probably leave that social site :) )

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Dominique Chavez-thoma

    Great Article… I know hashtags can be so confusing for a lot of people… important thing is knowing the bene

  • Dominique Chavez-thoma

    Great Article… I know hashtags can be so confusing for a lot of people… important thing is knowing the bene

  • Lisa Swanson

    I am definitely guilty of not using hashtags! I’m going to commit to start using them right away!

    • I’m sure you’ll start seeing even more engagement when you do Lisa.

      Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Lisa Swanson

    I am definitely guilty of not using hashtags! I’m going to commit to start using them right away!

    • I’m sure you’ll start seeing even more engagement when you do Lisa.

      Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Natalie Palombi

    You know, I’ve seen Hashtagify recommended elsewhere, and I don’t remember if it just was down at the time, or if I was searching crappy tags… LOL but AT THE TIME, I didn’t find anything useful. Today, after reading this…tada!!! Useful hashtags and new ideas!! Thanks SocialQuant y’all ROCK!

    • Awww thanks Natalie. I’ve seen big improvements in the tool and their service (a matter a fact watch this comment area and within a week they’ll probably be in here saying thanks) :)

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Natalie Palombi

    You know, I’ve seen Hashtagify recommended elsewhere, and I don’t remember if it just was down at the time, or if I was searching crappy tags… LOL but AT THE TIME, I didn’t find anything useful. Today, after reading this…tada!!! Useful hashtags and new ideas!! Thanks SocialQuant y’all ROCK!

    • Awww thanks Natalie. I’ve seen big improvements in the tool and their service (a matter a fact watch this comment area and within a week they’ll probably be in here saying thanks) :)

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

  • Natalie Palombi

    You know, I’ve seen Hashtagify recommended elsewhere, and I don’t remember if it just was down at the time, or if I was searching crappy tags… LOL but AT THE TIME, I didn’t find anything useful. Today, after reading this…tada!!! Useful hashtags and new ideas!! Thanks SocialQuant y’all ROCK!

  • definitely using hashtagify next time I use hashtags. Thx for the tip

    • As I just mentioned to Tanya you’ll love them. Great tool and really helps a lot.

  • simplywebly

    definitely using hashtagify next time I use hashtags. Thx for the tip

    • As I just mentioned to Tanya you’ll love them. Great tool and really helps a lot.

  • Love the tips! Great post on hashtags. I’ve been known to go crazy with them but I think the guide to “1-3 per tweet max” is solid advice. Curious if you prefer Hashtagify over RiteTag? I tried a trial version of each recently but haven’t quite figured out if there are advantages to one over the other.

    • Hey Tanya.

      Thanks for stopping by. We’re fans of both but I use Hashtagify much more and we recommend it to all our customers when choosing keywords for us.

      I agree with going crazy at times but I tend to also keep it to 1-3 per tweet max.

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

      • Super. I’ll give Hashtagify a closer look. Thanks!

  • Love the tips, Sheena! Great post on hashtags. I’ve been known to go crazy with them but I think the guide to “1-3 per tweet max” is solid advice. Curious if you prefer Hashtagify over RiteTag? I tried a trial version of each recently but haven’t quite figured out if there are advantages to one over the other.

    • Hey Tanya.

      Thanks for stopping by. We’re fans of both but I use Hashtagify much more and we recommend it to all our customers when choosing keywords for us.

      I agree with going crazy at times but I tend to also keep it to 1-3 per tweet max.

      Have an awesome day ~ Mike

      • Super. I’ll give Hashtagify a closer look. Thanks!

  • Social media people have realized the importance of hashtags in Twitter. Hashtags help them achieve in their online marketing efforts,

  • Social media people have realized the importance of hashtags in Twitter. Hashtags help them achieve in their online marketing efforts,

  • Social media people have realized the importance of hashtags in Twitter. Hashtags help them achieve in their online marketing efforts,

  • Cathy Jennings

    Hey Sheena! Another great post!

    Question — are there any stats on hashtag searches by Twitter users? I know a lot of folks put them in their posts, but when I ask if they actually “search” for hashtags, they often say no.

    • Hey Cathy thanks again for stopping by to read. Sure Sheena may chime in an comment but I can share that according to a recent study by Buffer Tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement than tweets without.

      I know for me personally I love them for conferences, trending events and doing research. Also hashtags do show up in search. Thanks again for popping over Cathy :) ~ Mike

  • Cathy Jennings

    Hey Sheena! Another great post!

    Question — are there any stats on hashtag searches by Twitter users? I know a lot of folks put them in their posts, but when I ask if they actually “search” for hashtags, they often say no.

    • Hey Cathy thanks again for stopping by to read. Sure Sheena may chime in an comment but I can share that according to a recent study by Buffer Tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement than tweets without.

      I know for me personally I love them for conferences, trending events and doing research. Also hashtags do show up in search. Thanks again for popping over Cathy :) ~ Mike

  • Kristen Wilson

    Good points.. and the issue/question I would have… on hijacking.. what if it is a #general <<lol (see what I did there) hashtag like #biztips that's just a general one and shouldn't be a big deal, right?!

  • Kristen Wilson

    Good points.. and the issue/question I would have… on hijacking.. what if it is a #general <<lol (see what I did there) hashtag like #biztips that's just a general one and shouldn't be a big deal, right?!

  • Great reminder to use hashtags & how. I am getting into practice of including it but more so on twitter. Had same question about placement as Beverley Golden so thanks for that answer. My next question is: do people really search on Facebook using hashtags?;

    • Not as much on Facebook, but I’ll give you an example of one some do: #FacebookFriday

      By searching that you can find everyone having a Facebook Friday Party to meet new people.

  • Great reminder to use hashtags & how. I am getting into practice of including it but more so on twitter. Had same question about placement as Beverley Golden so thanks for that answer. My next question is: do people really search on Facebook using hashtags?;

    • Not as much on Facebook, but I’ll give you an example of one some do: #FacebookFriday

      By searching that you can find everyone having a Facebook Friday Party to meet new people.

  • Beth Kovinsky Blacker

    I need to remember Hashtagify. I know someone told me about it before, I put it in some notes somewhere and then promptly forgot about it :) Thanks for the great tips!

  • Beth Kovinsky Blacker

    I need to remember Hashtagify. I know someone told me about it before, I put it in some notes somewhere and then promptly forgot about it :) Thanks for the great tips!

  • Sherri Frost

    Sheena, I have tried to use original hashtags but it seems better to use ones that are widely used. How do you know the difference between hijacking someone’s hashtag and adding content to a larger stream of content?

    • Hey Sherri. Original can cause that issue at times. Sometimes though you can focus on more specific hashtags that you’ll show up in higher for search like: #SocialMedia has millions competing vs. #Socialmediatips has 15K. Easier to be found for that. As for Hijacking it’s more for those that jump in on a conversation sharing content with a popular hashtag to be found but they aren’t even relevant to that topic. Example Jumping in on the #SuperBowl but just putting a link to your company when you aren’t even relevant to the discussion. Those folks are just trying to hijack a trend.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Sherri Frost

    Sheena, I have tried to use original hashtags but it seems better to use ones that are widely used. How do you know the difference between hijacking someone’s hashtag and adding content to a larger stream of content?

    • Hey Sherri. Original can cause that issue at times. Sometimes though you can focus on more specific hashtags that you’ll show up in higher for search like: #SocialMedia has millions competing vs. #Socialmediatips has 15K. Easier to be found for that. As for Hijacking it’s more for those that jump in on a conversation sharing content with a popular hashtag to be found but they aren’t even relevant to that topic. Example Jumping in on the #SuperBowl but just putting a link to your company when you aren’t even relevant to the discussion. Those folks are just trying to hijack a trend.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Katarina Andersson

    Some great info on hashtags. Slowly I start trying to be more strategic of using hashtags. :-)

  • Katarina Andersson

    Some great info on hashtags. Slowly I start trying to be more strategic of using hashtags. :-)

  • Liz Benoit Cozby

    I forgot about Hashtagify, so thank you for reminding me!

  • Liz Benoit Cozby

    I forgot about Hashtagify, so thank you for reminding me!

  • Janell McIlwain

    I love the hashtag convo. They are so important to keep your thread from getting lost. Will check out hashtagify.Thanks for breaking it down for us.

  • Janell McIlwain

    I love the hashtag convo. They are so important to keep your thread from getting lost. Will check out hashtagify.Thanks for breaking it down for us.

  • Vronnie Ok

    Thank you so much . This was confusing for me before, now I have a better understanding!

  • Vronnie Ok

    Thank you so much . This was confusing for me before, now I have a better understanding!

  • Jackie Harder

    I see really cute or funny hashtags that I doubt anyone in the world is using. I think people do it for their own amusement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Jackie Harder

    I see really cute or funny hashtags that I doubt anyone in the world is using. I think people do it for their own amusement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Dorothy Y. Felton

    Very good points indeed. This will help me going forward.

  • Dorothy Y. Felton

    Very good points indeed. This will help me going forward.

  • Tinowimba Katsumbe

    Didn’t quite get the last part on hijacking hashtags. Could you expand a bit on that please.

    • Hi Tinowimba, basically that’s saying not to jump on a trending hashtag for your own purposes. For instance, if a brand is running a successful hashtag campaign and people are using it a lot, it’s poor form to use that hashtag for your own, unrelated marketing just to “trick” more people into seeing your Tweet. Hope that answers your question and thanks for visiting Social Quant!

      • Tinowimba Katsumbe

        I am answered. thanks.

  • igor Griffiths

    Thanks Sheena, hashtags are definitely something that has passed me by. However your concise article revealed their power but also how to actually find ones that are appropriate for your business goals and resonate with your target audience.

    • Hi Igor! Yes, the potential of hashtags on Twitter is powerful indeed to spread your message to new audiences. As Sheena stated, http://hashtagify.me/ is a great tool to find relevant hashtags. Thanks for visiting Social Quant!

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