How Solopreneurs can use Twitter hashtags

by Michele on February 13, 2013

The idea of Twitter hashtags has become commonplace outside of Twitter, and I get asked a lot what they are.  Once you know what they are, hashtags can be an effective

How Solopreneurs Can Use Twitter Hashtags

addition to your Twitter strategy for your solopreneur business.

What are Twitter hashtags?

Twitter hashtags are represented by the “#” or “pound” sign before a word or phrase.  The symbol and the word or phrase together are a hashtag.  Hashtags are used to denote that a tweet is about a certain subject.  Here are a few examples of hashtags:

  • #SOTU – for tweets about the US President’s State of the Union address
  • #worldcup – for tweets about the soccer World Cup championships
  • #dog – for tweets about, you guessed it, dogs
  • #ncis – for tweets about the TV show NCIS (the hastag is shown on TV during the show)

Hashtags can be for current events (like #SOTU) or special interest (like  #dog).  They can also take on a humorous, game-like quality such as #hollywoodpostitnote, which is about movie ideas that would never be made.  If you want to see any tweets with these hashtags, head over to Twitter and put the hashtag into the search bar.  Look at your own risk because Twitter sometimes contains adult ideas or language.

How to use Twitter hashtags

In general, including a hastag is a way to let other people interested in a topic find your tweet.  If I want to see what people are saying about the TV show NCIS, I can search on the hashtag #ncis to see all the tweets that contain that hashtag.  Another, more subtle element of using hashtags is that they denote you as someone “in the know.”  Whatever the topic you are tweeting about, if you are knowledgeable and stay informed on the subject you’ll know the relevant hashtags to use.

Hashtags for Solopreneurs

Aside from having some fun with clever hashtags, solopreneurs can use hashtags as a way to increase their visibility on Twitter.  Here’s how:

  1. Add a relevant hashtag to a regular tweet about your area of expertise.  This will help more people find your tweet including people that aren’t following you.  People look at hashtags when they want to find something and many people use the saved search function of Twitter to keep on top of some hashtags.
  2. Include the savvy use of hashtags in your Tweets to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable and up to date in your field.
  3. Create a relevant tweet for a popular, current hashtag in order to connect with new people who may not have found you otherwise.

Sounds great, right?  Are you ready to start bombing all your tweets with multiple hashtags?  Well don’t do that just yet, read on for a few things not to do.

Hashtags – what not to do

There’s a few don’ts in using hashtags.

  1. Don’t add an irrelevant hashtag to any tweet just to get more eyeballs on it.  People will not be pleased and they’ll click away because they didn’t find what they were looking for.
  2. Don’t jump on a popular hashtag bandwagon with tweets that add nothing just to be seen.  Only use a hashtag if your tweet is relevant and valuable.
  3. Avoid anything offensive if you use your Twitter account for a business where being professional matters.  Some hashtags have racist, sexist, sexual or otherwise objectionable content.  If in doubt, don’t do it.

Do you use hashtags in your Twitter account?  How do you use them?  Tell me about it in the comments.

Comments

  1. Dawn Mentzer says:

    Great tips, Michele! I think hashtags confound a lot of people. And it seems like many people approach them with an all or nothing attitude. They either jam-pack their tweets with hashtags, or never use them at all. There really is a right time, place and frequency! Thanks as always for your smart advice to solopreneurs! I’ll be sharing your post on Twitter today. 🙂

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Dawn! I’ve seen those tweets with a bunch of non-relevant hash tags and I don’t like them.

  2. Brett R. says:

    Great intro post Michele. Knowing which hashtags to use and when are also important pieces to using them successfully. I’ve outlined those specific here http://www.bitesizebschool.com/how-to-increase-twitter-followers.

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Brett! The ebook looks great. Thanks for posting it! Michele

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