Why and How to Use Hashtags on Twitter 

Let’s discuss why and how to use hashtags (a pound sign with one or two or three words after it e.g. #LearnTwitter) on Twitter. Sometimes hashtags include complete words. Sometimes they’re parts of words, but enough that people know what you’re talking about. Hashtags are kind of like a filing system to use a on social media. Different social media sites use different hashtags often, but most social media sites do use hashtags.

Twitter changed the pound sign into a hyperlinked verb

As far as I know, Twitter was one of the first social media site to use hashtags. Somebody had has said Twitter changed the simple pound sign from a simple pound sign into a hyperlinked verb because we use hashtag as a verb—”Did you hashtag that?” Often we use hashtags now as shorthand for targeting and making sure that a post is seen on social media, whether it’s read immediately or later on.

Why we should use hashtags

So now that you know what a hashtag is, why should we use hashtags? Did you know that users who use hashtags are 55% more likely to have their posts retweeted and more than 50% of users who share hashtags more often do it because they know that the advertiser is awarding discounts or coupons for using those hashtags? So that’s something to keep in mind. If you have a business or are a writer and trying to sell books, you might want to use hashtags to encourage people to share your content and then reward them for using that hashtag by offering a draw for a prize. It could be as simple as a coupon, or an Amazon card—whatever you decide would be useful for your audience, something they would appreciate. (Hint: If you don’t know what your audience wants, ask them by using a poll on Twitter!)

Finding hashtags that are valuable for your audience

We’ll look at how you can develop your own hashtags in a few minutes. But first of all, I wanted to share some ideas about finding hashtags that are valuable for your audience. You can Google “Twitter hashtags for writers” or “Twitter hashtags for entrepreneurs.” Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur shares hashtags for writers under different categories. So the first category he uses are genre specific hashtags like fantasy romance, urban fantasy. And then he also tells how often those tweets are used every hour. So for instance, the hashtag romance is used in 133 tweets per hour, where urban fantasy is only used 84 times every hour. Then he also lists hashtags under the category of writing process. “#Editing” is used 25 times per hour. “#Writing” is used 200 times per hour, “#creativity” 46 times, “#wordcount” is used 120. He also shares some hashtags for self-publishing and marketing.

Using hashtags to do research

Did you know you can do research using Twitter by using specific hashtags? Use #askagent if you have a question you want to ask a book agent. They keep an eye out for that hashtag and will usually answer those questions. You need to be aware that sometimes there are quite a few questions asked, so if you don’t get your question answered right away, be patient. Usually they do get to it.

Hashtags for writers

There are also some hashtags for creative ideas. So #WIP or work in progress is used quite often across all creative communities. (So not just writers use that hashtag) #writingpro is something you can research if you are looking for ideas regarding things to write about. You can also use hashtags to connect with your readers. If you’re giving a book away, you can use #bookgiveaway. If you’re wanting to connect with more readers, #followFriday often gets you more followers and grows your account. You can also connect with other writers by using hashtags like #writing or #writerslifechat or #writingcommunity. #writing is one that I see quite often or #bookmarketingchat is another one that I often see. So think about the purpose of your tweets, whose attention you’re trying to get and choose your hashtags that way.

Hashtags for entrepreneurs

If you’re an entrepreneur (and most authors are!), you want to Google “hashtags for entrepreneurs.” You can use #entrepreneur or #entrepreneurship or #mindset, #freedom, #coaching, #startup #beyourown boss. There are quite a few different hashtags that you can use. What I would suggest you do is pick some hashtags that you think will be helpful for you and start using them and see how your audience responds.

Developing your own hashtag

Let’s go back to the idea of developing your own hashtag. You can use hashtags for branding. I have done that. For example, when I wrote my book, Learn Twitter, I searched to see if there were any hashtags related to that and #LearnTwitter was not being used. I started using #LearnTwitter consistently to advertise things to do with my book and to do with learning how to use Twitter effectively. So that’s a hashtag that I developed. Another hashtag I use is #getclientsbuild community for my business in helping people with their marketing.

Trial and error

As I mentioned before, hashtags are kind of like a filing system. So, when your readers see specific hashtags that they like to follow, they will be able to find your content easier. Sometimes you’ll find a hashtag that you think will resonate with your readers or with your clients, won’t resonate with them. If that’s the case, you need to do some more research and find out what they are reading and choose the hashtags they are following so that you can communicate with your readers and your clients.

Why and how do you use hashtags? Share what works for you and your audience in the comments below.

If you want more information about how to use Twitter effectively, purchase my book, Twitter Decoded.

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