Pauline Monot - Staff Contributor, Online Media Today
By Pauline Monot – Online Media Today, Staff Writer

If you are a Twitter user, there’s little doubt that you’ve noticed hashtags (the "#" sign in front of users Tweets).   But do you know what they mean, what they are used for and also how powerful can hashtags be?

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags are used to catalog and connect tweets related to a common topic.  By including a keyword appended to a hashtag, you tag your tweet in the same way you would do for a photo on Flickr.  It is a great way for people within a community to easily follow relevant and real-time tweets about the same subject.  For example, when you search for #earthquakes, the other topics dealing fortuitously with earthquakes will be filtered out, and as a result, you will find only the most timely and relevant tweets containing this hashtag.
Hashtag Sample from Twitter
Sample of Hashtag
When can using a hashtag be useful?

Hashtags are frequently used to cover a natural disaster or any kind of other emergency/ crisis.  As well, they are well-known for being helpful to live-blog an event, by the organizer and the attendees.  Yet as they are getting more and more popular, new ways of leveraging them (ever try to use Twitter to share a taxi?) are appearing and business owners are finding them a useful way to connect with customers in meaningful ways.  

Which hashtag to use?


Either you can create a new one or use one that already exists. If you are looking for extra visibility online, using the existing hashtags may be more valuable for you.  Using existing hashtags puts your comments into the mainstream and creates more visibility to your Twitter profile.   They’re pretty easy to find (in the right-hand panel of your Twitter window).  There are also several tools that enable you to find, monitor and understand the trendy hashtags like
hashtags.org, http://twubs.com/, http://www.whatthetrend.com/, or http://tagal.us/.  Stay tuned for more details about that in a next post.
Twitter Trends
What are the advantages of using hashtags? 

  1. Keep abreast of the trends within your niche:  Following and engaging in “hot” conversations help to put your brand in front of lots of people fast, or can even help you find content ideas for a blog post.  A good thing with the hashtag is that it is easy to stop following topics when you are no longer interested.
  2. Hashtags help your business gain exposure: Even people who don’t follow you will find your tweet when they search a specific hashtag. The trendier hashtag you use, the more you increase the potential size of your audience.
  3. Raise your brand awareness: Speaking about a trendy topic takes hold of people’s attention and helps to develop viral content.   People will be more likely to re-tweat you and, even better, may click through to read your blog post.

    Are you already using hashtags?  What were some of the advantages you experienced as a result?  Are there any other useful examples of using Hashtags you’d like to share?

     
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10/21/2013 12:12:16 am

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