Even though this micro-blogging social network has been around for some time, hash tags are still shrouded in mystery. Let’s have a quick look at what these are and why you should care about them.
So what are hashtags, really? Well, simply put, they are formed whenever a relevant word on Twitter is preceded by a # symbol. So, something like #technology or #dieting represents a hashtag.
Why care about hashtags?
Hashtags are the tweet discovery feature of Twitter. In other words, # acts as a search engine for a particular keyword on twitter, rather than having to go through a whole army of them. This makes it easy for you to find what the people are saying about something, in real time. As such, hashtags can be useful for tracking, developing, or engaging in conversations.
The first use is of course to join in on conversations that interest you. It might be an upcoming sporting event, your favorite brand, or your hobbies. However, that’s not all you can do with hashtags. As a business, you can easily create your own hashtags when you run new campaigns, something like #DialADiscount. Since the hashtag is going to be unique for your business, all Twitter conversations related to the campaign you run or deals you announce can be tracked and listened, giving you first-hand insight into what people are saying. This real-time collection of data is what makes Twitter a powerful marketing medium.
Hashtags are also used to select trending topics. You may have seen these in your Twitter account once you log in. A trending topic is something a large number of people are talking about, and can be anything from some unexpected development to a business announcement.
P.S.: In keeping with the etiquettes of the “Twitterati”, don’t overdo the hashtags in your tweets. Too many hashtags not only dilute the impact of the conversation by pulling in a very diverse audience, but also serve to distract your readers.