We've just reached the 2000 follower milestone on Twitter and what better way to give back than to talk about what we have learnt about hashtags on our journey so far.
A hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by the symbol commonly known as the number sign, the hash, or (in North America) the pound sign.
If you are new to Twitter or social media marketing, you may think that hashtags are pointless.
That couldn't be further from the truth.
Not only do hashtags succinctly contextualise what you're talking about but they are a key component in how we communicate and organise content online.
On Twitter (and similar platforms) using a hashtag will turn your keyword into a searchable link. This allows users to browse tweets and follow discussions for certain topics.
Here are our top five tips on how to use hashtags based on the things we have tried and tested in the last 18 months:
Use with Intent
Used carelessly, hashtags can make little-to-no difference to your engagement whereas a measured and varied use of hashtags can put your brand and content in front of the right people and a wider audience.
In other words, there is more to using hashtags than just adding emphasis, context or humour to a tweet, #amiright?
Below are two similar tweets — notice that the tweet using established hashtags performs nearly twice as well.
Make sure your ideas are relevant to you and your audience, keeping your eye on your followers and what they are engaging with. There may already be some well established hashtags for your target audience such as #ManufacturingHour, for example.
Using the website or app interface, you can keep on top of what hashtags are currently trending.
Write an entertaining or informative tweet that fits the flow of the current conversation and you may find yourself receiving a brief boost in engagement and new followers as your content reaches new places.
Below is a light-hearted example from when #WorkingFromHomeTips was trending. This tweet achieved 50 000 impressions and 3000 engagements in a matter of hours.
A hashtag hour is a pre-agreed time when like-minded individuals can get together to discuss topics of interest, ask and answer questions and generally socialise and network.
Hashtag hours are usually weekly or daily and are often themed.
They are an excellent way to find new people to follow whilst also growing your own audience. They are also an excellent way to stay in touch with what the industry feels about certain topics and the latest news.
Bonus Tip: Many groups are less suited to a "hard sell" so don't feel too deflated when your scheduled sales pitch for "cheap plastic injection moulding in Aldridge" receives one like during the middle of #TwitTeamHour, #awkward.
Here are some of the hours our audience were found to enjoy:
All times in GMT unless noted.
Shoutout to @BurleyFires, @lasermasterLtd, @BrooksbankValve, @GBmfg_Neil and @aptechnologyuk for their help with this list.
Last but not least, write readable tweets. It might seem obvious but this is also a common mistake — too many hashtags can sometimes make a tweet difficult to read so it's good practice to keep a modest hashtag limit.
Using 15 hashtags might present you more reach opportunities but may hinder readership and, therefore, engagement.
Twitter says it's best practice to use two hashtags per tweet but you are free to use as many as you like. Our informal hashtag limit is three.