Twitter Hashtag

Twitter 101: #Hashtag to Market Your Business

Everybody knows that in order to increase traffic to your online business, you have to use social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  While Facebook is pretty straightforward to use, it can be a bit limiting.  Twitter, on the other hand, is the perfect marketing platform when used correctly and can ensure that knowledge of your product and services can get spread to vast numbers of people.

According to Stephanie Lichtenstein, president of Micro Media Marketing and social media expert, the easiest way to reach and engage a large audience on Twitter is by using what is known as the hashtag.

In an interview on Coffee Talk, an audio chat show, Lichtenstein stressed how hashtags in tweets effectively get you involved in real-time conversations with huge groups of people that may be interested in what you’re offering.  But first, let’s have a look at what hashtags are and what they do.

Hashtag Basics

A hashtag on twitter is basically a keyword or a keyword phrase that is written with no spaces and has a “#” sign in front of it, again with no spaces.  Some examples of hashtags are #cricketlovers, #mumsrecipes, and #sportsnut.

The hashtag will then connect conversations or tweets of different users into one area or stream, which is then searchable in the site’s search engine or you can search the hashtag on Hootsuite, which is a third-party social media monitoring device.

The hashtags will bring together otherwise unconnected twitter users in one place and facilitate conversations.  When certain hashtagged keywords get used and repeated often enough, they become trending topics where thousands of people are discussing them.  Hashtags are great for marketing campaigns because they centralize conversations.

Hashtags are easy to make, you simply place the “#” sign in front of your keywords, and can be placed anywhere in your tweet.

Hashtag Use

So now that we know how to use the hashtag and what it’s used for, let’s look at some of the common mistakes people make when attempting to use the hashtag for marketing their business.

what is twitter hashtag

Mistake 1:  Use a hashtag that’s old or already in use for some other event.  Check to see if your choice of hashtag has been used by someone else by searching for it on Twitter’s search engine.  If you use a hashtag that’s old, you’ll just spread your message to people who aren’t in your intended target group, and your intended “conversation” probably won’t take place due to dilution.

Mistake 2:  Not using an industry or brand keyword.  Remember, your tweets will show up in newsfeeds, not only in the hashtag conversation stream.  Use a word that is recognizable in your hashtag so that people will be interested.

Mistake 3:  Using a hashtag that can open you up to abuse.  Remember to use neutral yet upbeat sounding keywords.  Don’t use words like “love” or “hate”.  Along with words connected to strong emotions, be aware of some hashtag campaigns that have backfired, such as McDonald’s  #McDStories where users wrote about their negative experiences at the fast-food chain.

Mistake 4: Hashtag in bad taste.  Some hashtags were originally meant for serious and sensitive issues, and trying to insert your product, brand or website into the conversation is known in the industry as hashtag hijacking.  For example, Kenneth Cole, the designer, took a lot of flak for trying to insert his brand in conversations about the Arab Spring when he tweeted:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo.Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo-KC”

Before Hashtagging, Prepare Your Website for Increased Traffic

By following the above advice you can expect your online business to grow, so don’t forget the good business practice of having a payment processing method that will be able to handle the increase in sales.  PayPal, merchant accounts, bank transfers are all great methods and don’t forget to recommend to those who prefer non-electronic methods of payment to order personal checks.

So, before sending out your first few hashtagged tweets, do a little bit of research; make sure the hashtag isn’t offensive or hijacking a sensitive situation.  You’ll soon get the hang of it and you’ll find the real-time interaction with customers to be fun and also financially rewarding.

James Martell is an Internet pioneer who discovered the lucrative world of affiliate marketing in 1999. He is a self-taught Internet entrepreneur and a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, outsourcing and natural search engine optimization. James is also the host of the "Affiliate Buzz", the first and longest running affiliate marketing podcast in the industry (since 2003). Google+ James Martell


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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Gail March 18, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Nice post and well considered. Some of the comments here I have learned from as well, as in the opportunity for people to abuse your hashtag as well.

    Will try it a bit more on Twitter and see how it goes.

  • marty February 22, 2013, 4:56 pm

    I always forget to use hastags and when I do I think I use the number #2 mistake thanks for identifying it

  • Shaharyar Afzal January 8, 2013, 11:41 am

    Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity for your post is just great and i can assume you’re knowledgeable on this subject. Fine together with your permission let me to grasp your feed to keep updated with impending post. Thank you a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  • bbrian017
    January 8, 2013, 11:30 am

    Hasttags are pretty cool but they also leave your company open to serious bad PR with Twitter. You cannot control who uses your hashtags good or bad. If someone wants to spam your hashtags when you’re trying to use it, there’s nothing you can do. I’ve done several Twitter chats with a hastag as well and anyone can come into that as they wish. thankfully I’ve seen no issues yet but ti’s possible.
    bbrian017 recently posted..What’s Hot on Blog Engage Edition #1My Profile

  • Dominique Jackson January 2, 2013, 5:39 pm

    I wonder if Twitter even realized what they were starting with the whole Hashtag thing. People are using it in outside of Twitter and in everyday conversations #everyonetalkswithhashtags
    Dominique Jackson recently posted..Blog Review: The Book CellarMy Profile

  • Kris January 1, 2013, 7:14 am

    I used to be really annoyed with hashtags and thought to myself that I would never ever use it. However, after reading some stuff about it and actually trying it, I learned that its actually useful as soon as you remove all the clutter and only use it with a goal in mind. So all in all, not overdoing it is one of the keys as well.

  • Catalin December 26, 2012, 7:38 pm

    thanks for this article James.

    i jus want so much to learn more about twitter hashtags

  • Leon
    December 26, 2012, 2:50 pm

    This should be a no brainer for any user that uses Twitter. Hash Tags is the easiest way to trend and be found via search.

  • babanature December 25, 2012, 9:51 am

    Hashtags is really good in promoting ones product and blog. i’ve seen its impact since i started using it. thanks for the information james.

  • Blazing Minds
    December 25, 2012, 8:25 am

    I’m guilty of always forgetting to use hash tags, I do have my feed producing them from my blog posts, sometimes. What I hate about the Twitter Hash Tags is when you see a tweet that is virtually nothing but Hash Tags, I mean how stupid does that look!

    When I do remember to use them I use one or two, no more, kind of looks spammy with more than two!
    Blazing Minds recently posted..Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Top Posts etc on Blazing Minds in 2012My Profile

  • Joe Clark
    December 23, 2012, 11:42 am

    Hi James,

    Honestly speaking! I have never got any success with Twitter or Twitter hashtags! :S
    I don’t know if its only me or there are some other gentlemen around having same trouble. LOL!

    Joe Clark recently posted..Good Communication Skills: How to Master them?My Profile

  • Alex Dumpfree December 22, 2012, 5:39 am

    The Hashtag’s power, great post James. I’ll do more research on this. I will forward this to my tweeter friends.

  • Syed Danial
    December 22, 2012, 4:58 am

    Nice explanation of hash tag I don’t knew that they were used in twitter streaming. I don’t get much traffic from twitter that’s why i never tried to learn it

  • Ryan Biddulph
    December 21, 2012, 11:03 pm

    Smart post James!

    Hashtags work really well if you do not abuse them. Use sparingly, as overuse looks unnatural, and quite awkward. Work each tag into tweets once in a while to generate a steady flow of targeted traffic to your twitter account.


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