According to Twitter, hashtags, or the ‘#’ symbol, are used to mark keywords in a Tweet. Hashtags were first implemented by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. From a user’s point of view, hashtags have many advantages; from a simple way to categorize messages, to reaching out to a bigger audience with similar interests.

One way or another, hashtags are powerful if you use them correctly.

Before we go into using hashtags on Twitter for maximum impact, here is some important information about hashtags you need to know.

  • A hashtag is created when the # symbol is placed before a word (example #SocialMedia)
  • Hashtags are used by Twitter to categorize tweets based on interest
  • Hashtags are clickable and clicking will show other tweets with the same hashtag
  • Hashtags can be used in any tweets, as long as the tweet remains within the 140-character limit
  • Hashtagged words are usually very common and often appear in Twitter Trending Topics

With that being said, here are some powerful (and highly actionable) ways to use Twitter hashtags correctly.

1. #Do #not #spam #with #hashtags

This is the most common mistake made by many marketers. Sure, hashtags could allow you to reach a bigger audience and increases your reach multiple fold, but it certainly doesn’t do you any good if your tweet is considered spammy.

On average, I wouldn’t recommend using more than 3 hashtags per tweet.

2. Finding the right hashtag to use

This complements the first point. Using the right hashtag will easily make your tweets more visible. Most importantly, you aren’t being spammy by adding every hashtag that comes to mind.

If you are looking for popular hashtags to use, Hashtagify is a great free tool to use. You can also try RiteTag which is a premium hashtag tool that integrates with many social platforms (aside from Twitter).

3. Specific is better in hashtag marketing

If you want hashtag marketing to work for you, you have to ensure that your hashtag is specific, relevant and most importantly, used by the right audience. A quick Twitter search for the specific hashtag could easily provide you with some good info. Of course, you can also use Hashtagify and RiteTag for more detailed analysis.

Here’s an example. Instead of using #marketing to target the vast majority of marketers, using hashtags like #socialmedia or #socialmediamarketing could allow you to reach out to marketers focusing and discussing social media topics only.

4. Keeping hashtag marketing simple

Sharing the same hashtag twice (or more) in a tweet doesn’t increase your visibility at all. If you want to create a bigger impact using hashtag marketing, then focus on using a variety of hashtags to avoid being redundant.

Also, you should not string too many words with a single hashtag.

#Socialmediaissofreakingawesome — yup, that’s what we’re talking about.

5. Creating your own branded hashtag

This methodology is powerful. With the right strategy and some luck, your hashtag will start trending pretty fast within your following.

Here are some simple steps to follow if you want to create your own branded hashtag(s):

  • Find a hashtag that’s never been used (or has been idle for a long time)
  • Relationship between hashtag and your business is optional but highly recommended
  • Hashtags need to be meaningful
  • Use the branded hashtag at the right time. Don’t constantly spam with brand updates only

6. Advertise on trending hashtags

If you are into Twitter advertising, this could be your golden ticket to success. The only downside is trending hashtags usually don’t last that long on the Twitter sphere.

Advertising on trending hashtags is all about relevancy. Don’t force yourself onto users with trending hashtags that don’t make sense as it definitely won’t be a good experience for your followers.

7. Tracking and analyzing

Smart social marketers know the importance of tracking and analyzing. Tracking will help you understand if your hashtag marketing is working and you’ll find various information such as:

  • New things to tweet about
  • Hashtag performance

If you are looking for the right tools to track hashtags, I would highly recommend Hootsuite, Sendible and Sprout Social as they get the job done in a very effective way.

8. Hashtag stats backed by science (and data)

I’d like to finish by providing some hashtag related stats from a recent Buffer post. A Scientific Guide to Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, and Where to Use Them.

So here goes:

  • Tweets with hashtags received 2x (2 times) more engagement than those without hashtags
  • Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags
  • Tweets that use more than two hashtags actually show a 17% drop in engagement
  • Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted
  • Without hashtags, a tweet has anywhere between 20 - 30% chance of being retweeted

Conclusion

Proper usage of hashtags can be an effective way to gain maximum visibility for your tweets. Also, considering hashtags are now being integrated into a variety of social platforms, hashtags are definitely here to stay.

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