You’ve seen them on Twitter and maybe even Facebook — they’re denoted by the pound sign, immediately followed by a term. Hashtags are tools used by Twitter users to ensure tweets are grouped with other tweets on the same subject. A tweet about issues relating to small business, for instance, might be followed by #smallbusiness. It’s important that the keyword that follows the tag has no spaces.
When you end your tweet with a hashtag, that section of your tweet immediately becomes clickable. Clicking on that link will immediately take you to a page of tweets with the same hashtag. By using hashtags that are used by others, this can lead new Twitter users to your page, resulting in additional followers.
But what many small businesses may not realize is that hashtags can actually increase your prominence in Google search rankings. Hashtags are, in essence, keywords, and Google’s search algorithms love keywords. Additionally, Twitter enthusiasts often use hashtags in searches to find tweets containing certain keywords.
As you review your Twitter profile and make changes to improve visibility, here are a few ways you can actively improve your chances of being seen by more people.
- Be specific. Use hashtags that relate to your brand and only your brand occasionally, which can help cement your name in people’s minds. Don’t overdo it — but with any luck, eventually your most loyal fans will begin to use the hashtag as well, and you’ll create a trend of your own.
- Be general. Write down a list of terms that your target customers might search for on Twitter or Google. Work those search terms into hashtags occasionally to increase the odds that you’ll be found by someone searching for all tweets falling under that hashtag.
- If you’re offering a special or coupon, use a hashtag like #coupon or #deal. Consumers use these hashtags to find specials on products, so this can help you reach people who might not have otherwise found you.
- Look for relevant trending topics. You can find these in the left-hand column of your Twitter feed. Don’t use a trending hashtag just for the sake of using one. Choose one that is relevant to your business to avoid looking as though you’re simply trying to jump onto the latest trend.
- Keep hashtags in retweets and replies. As you respond to tweets that catch your attention, keep the hashtag intact. This will allow other Twitter users to follow the conversation and increase the likeliness your tweets will be seen.
Twitter can be a great tool for spreading the word about special events, a business’s offerings, or deals on products. As you work to build your brand, it’s important to make your page as findable as possible, both within Twitter and on search engines. Hashtags are an essential part of everyday Twitter use and, by using them correctly, you’ll potentially reach more customers than you imagined.
Author : Stephanie Faris
Stephanie Faris has more than a decade of experience in government technology. She has authored more than 3,000 articles and blogs and regularly writes for several major technology websites. Stephanie also writes fiction and her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released in the spring of 2014 by Simon and Schuster.
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