Thank you for tuning in for Part Three in my series on using hashtags. In Part One, we talked about what a hashtag is and how it’s used. In Part Two, we discussed how to use Hashtags on Instagram. In this installment, we will discuss how to use hashtags on Twitter.

Hashtag History

Curious about the history of the #hashtag? Click To Tweet

Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag.  Chris Messina, an expert in social technology, initiated the use of hashtags on Twitter.  He wanted another way to easily search discussions and other online exchanges pertaining to a technology conference called Barcamp. His idea was simple, and his tweet suggesting the first use of a hashtag reflected that.  It read, ” ?how do you feel about using #(pound) for groups. As in #barcamp[msg}??”  And the hashtag was born.

Hashtags are an important part of social media culture. Hashtags help you to find relevant, specific conversations. They categorize tweets by keyword(s).  Click on a hashtagged word, and it will bring up all of the others messages on Twitter using that hashtag.

Using Hashtags on Twitter Today

Just about any word or phrase can be used as hashtag on Twitter. How do you select which hashtags to use? There are a few ways to select your hashtags on Twitter depending on the situation.

Learn more about how to use #hashtags on Twitter. Click To Tweet

Use a hashtag that is related to your business. For example, the hashtag for this blog is #socialbizbabes. I include that not only in relevant posts but also in Twitter parties. Branding a personalized hashtag for your business is simple. Furthermore, you can register a unique hashtag (a brand new one or one that has not been claimed by another party) on Twubs. Twubs provides hashtag registration services so that your hashtag can be traced back to you.

Use a #hashtag that is relevant to your business. For example: #socialbizbabes Click To Tweet

Trending hashtags that are germane to your message are great to use. Twitter makes this easy for you.  You can find the trending hashtags on the sidebar if you are using a computer. Conveniently, when you are on a smart phone, if you type a word preceding  the # sign, it will pull up options for popular hashtags for you to select from as well.

Sometimes people will use a trending hashtag on a tweet that isn’t relevant. If you are using trending hashtags for the first time, take a look at how the tag is being used prior to your post to make sure you understand the tag’s intent. There’s not a hashtag police out there to say you can’t do that, but the practice is generally frowned upon. The practice may be seen as overtly promotional.

If you are using a #trending #hashtag, consider including an evergreen hashtag as well. Click To Tweet

Some hashtags are evergreen. The hashtag #quote is a great example that most anyone can use. Quotes are widely shared and immensely popular on Twitter.  When you include a quote either in the text or image of your tweet, you can use #quote to get more traffic. However, trending tags may not be evergreen and may have a short lifespan. So if you are using a trending hashtag to draw attention to your post and twitter account, consider including another evergreen hashtag as well.

Twitter has recently updated its policy about character count. Finally, there will be a way to maximize your 140 characters. Soon, Twitter will no longer count the characters used in links and in @names. You’ll have more room for words and hashtags.

Twitter’s search allows you to search by hashtag to find topics of interest. Would you like to take your dog with you on vacation? Search #dogs, and you will find all kinds of posts on Twitter using that hashtag. Also, you may want to narrow down your search to something like #dogfriendly if you are looking for pet friendly hotels.

You’ll find hashtags to talk about things in your daily life like your favorite tv shows. Do you enjoy a particular TV show?  You’ll find all sorts of people using the show’s hashtags on twitter. You can also engage with these users for fun as well as to build your following and influence.

Moreover, using hashtags on Twitter can also build community. Especially relevant to building community, you can use hashtags as part of a group or organization. For instance, members of Social Biz Babes use #socialbizbabes so that I can find their posts to share them and answer their questions.

Using hashtags on Twitter is a lot of fun. I look forward to seeing your tags!

Finally, our next installment in the series will discuss how to use hashtags on Facebook.

Jennifer Quisenberry, Social Biz Babes, founder of Social Biz Babes, social media expert, social media training

Jennifer Quisenberry, founder of Social Biz Babes

Jennifer Quisenberry is a Social Influencer, author and blogger. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two dogs.