Want me to love your hashtag? You better love it first

There’s an art to hashtags on Twitter.

We know hashtags can corral conversations, help you find people you didn’t know existed and generally improve our Twitter (and Instagram) experience.

It’s also easy to get it wrong and waste the effort you put into hashtags.

Cherish your hashtag!

Hashtags can be intriguing, powerful and attract new followers – but they can also appear exclusive, divisive or spam-like.

I’m often keen to support a good campaign /cause / event on Twitter. Yet when I visit an organisation’s Twitter account, all too often it’s difficult to find a message that I can retweet. They’ve dropped the ball when it comes to communicating their campaign and they’re missing opportunities.

Need an example?

Imagine the #PrakkyOlympics is coming up (whatever that might be).  A poor effort would see me tweeting that hashtag once or twice, then having all sorts of conversations over Twitter without using that hashtag again. Or just using that hashtag deep within Twitter conversations – creating tweets which aren’t really appropriate for retweeting.

That means you’re relying on supporters to create their own tweets with your hashtag, or edit your tweets. Not fun.

Don’t be shy about explaining and promoting your hashtag frequently (remembering to stay on the right side of Twitter’s spam rules and also maintaining real conversations).

While you might feel that you’ve “flogged” your hashtag widely, others may have come across it for the first time. As some Twitter friends helped me to find: “It is a basic marketing principle that it takes seven ‘touches’ before someone will internalize and/or act upon your call to action” (source: http://lisamariediasdesigns.com/blog/7-touches/)

How can you tell if you’re doing the right thing?

It’s as easy as looking back over your own Twitter feed to check that your hashtag tweets are easy-to-read and retweet.

And, as the people at Buffer App point out: “Keep it short … Tweets get more traction when there’s a little room to spare – shoot for 120-130 characters” http://blog.bufferapp.com/the-complete-guide-to-social-media-formatting-make-your-content-stand-out

Below: an infographic capturing the #socadl (social media conversations in Adelaide) hashtag, using Visual.ly. You can get yours by visiting http://create.visual.ly/graphic/life-of-a-hashtag

Snapshot of the #socadl hashtag, using Visual.ly
Snapshot of the #socadl hashtag, using Visual.ly

Related reading: Twitter 101 series: Conference Hashtags and Conference hashtags: don’t forget the people in the room

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