Have you ever wondered "why did that tweet have a hashtag(#) in it?" or "What's the purpose of all the hashtags I see on twitter and why should I use them?" Well, there are several good reasons to start using hashtags on twitter, if you haven't used them yet.

Today, I want to share some hashtag tips as well as some of my experience with hashtags.

Chatting Worldwide

Back in June, I watched a webinar called “The Science of Facebook Marketing” by @danzarrella presented by HubSpot and one of the first things that he said was “Check out the twitter chatter from the event: #FBSci”. This was the first webinar I had ever watched/experienced and I was very impressed with all of the information that was given especially when it was over and I realized that all of it was for FREE. Anyways, when they said to checkout the twitter chatter, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I mean, I had never understood hashtags so it didn’t mean anything to me. However, when I clicked on this link that they had on their site: #FBSci and suddenly realized that I could see what everyone was saying about the webinar all in real-time from all around the world, I was completely AMAZED. According to Dan’s tweet, “Over 12,000 people” registered for the webinar, so that’s at least 12,000 people that instantly had the exact same, unique hashtag to use on twitter and therefore could communicate with one another about this one topic that we were all currently experiencing. This was a new function of twitter that I had never seen or thought of before.

SEO

Hashtags are also good for SEO(Search Engine Optimization) because many people will use the hashtag when they search. For instance, I just did a search for “Richmond, VA” and there were a bunch of results, but I noticed alot of the results had #richmond in them so I simply click the link #richmond and suddenly I am looking at all of the people that used that hashtag in their tweet and anyone who simply had the word richmond without the hash tag, were removed from my search results. In general, if people have the choice of typing a full word, or clicking once on a link to get the same results, they are going to click the link. Especially, those who are looking at twitter on their mobile devices and not wanting to type on the smaller keyboards or onscreen keyboards. I used Richmond, VA as an example because most people want local customers but they aren’t quite sure how to hone in on them. Well, putting a hashtag of your city or location is always a good idea when you want people to find you.

Trends and Stats

According to mashable.com, “If you’re trying to track tweets from a hashtag in real-time, Monitter and Twitterfall are good choices. Once again, Hashtags.org provides graphs and hour-by-hour information on top hashtags.” So not only can you track your unique hashtags, but you can also see hour-by-hour trends of how your hashtag is being used.

Courtesy

Despite how useful hashtags are, remember to keep your tweets clean looking and less “sales-pitch” looking. In other words, you can’t make every word in your tweets a different hashtag. When you create a hashtag, you want it to be as short as possible but still get your point across as clear as possible. For instance, if I was having a “Jerad’s Design & Repair Super Sale,” I wouldn’t make my hashtag for the sale “#jeradsdesign&repairsupersale”. I’d probably make it something like “#jdrsupersale”.

Need More Info?

There are tons of good articles on the web about hashtags, and here are a few that I would encourage you to read: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-hashtags/9419/
http://twitter.pbworks.com/Hashtags
http://mashable.com/2009/05/17/twitter-hashtags/