Hashtag Definition Made Easy

What Is A Twitter Hashtag?Hashtag Image

You know you are looking at a hashtag when you see copy within a tweet message that has a # prefix – like #emailtraining.

You can think of hastags as a library sorting system – or an opportunity for people to create networks and share a common interest (if people begin to ‘Twitter Follow’ each other). Hashtags are a great tool that will add value for yourself and other Twitter users.

They include any word, combination of letters or letters and numeric characters and are not upper & lower case-sensitive.

Using Hashtags

Anybody who tweets can use a hashtag – all you have to do is add one anywhere within your Tweet.

Hashtags are especially powerful for people organizing and attending conferences or events. Example: If people use a certain hashtag to tweet about a conference or a conference topic, others can easily follow and comment on the conversation / information.

Besides conferences and events, the following are a few other easy to relate to places hashtags are very useful:

  • Contests
  • Discussing Brands
  • Discussing Companies / Organizations
  • Cities
  • Artists

The # sign is critical. If you search for ‘FifeHouse’ you won’t find hashtags for FifeHouse because in this example ‘FifeHouse’ isn’t preceded by the #. You will only find general tweets with the word FifeHouse in them – no hashtags will be returned in the results. Alternatively, if you use #FifeHouse anywhere within your tweet you will find all specific hashtag references to FifeHouse.

When using a hashtag you should always consider how it will benefit you as well as your audience and those that might find the tweets surrounding your hashtag.  Therefore, we recommend using them only when you have valuable information to share.

How to Create A Hashtag

If you want to create a hashtag you should make sure it (and perhaps a few variations), aren’t already being used for the same – or alternate purpose. There are a few ways you can do this – but if you are new to Twitter I suggest you keep it easy on yourself and use the search feature in Twitter.

A hashtag uses part of your 140-character Twitter limit so keep it short (± 10 characters), to give you as much room for your Twitter message as possible. You also want to make it meaningful, easy to write and easy to remember as possible.

As I’ve said, they are any word, combination of letters or letters and numeric characters you like, but relevance, familiarity and ease-of-use should always be considered.

When you create one you should officially take credit for it by Tweeting that you are creating it. For example, if I’m going to create hashtag #emailwriting so people can network, discuss and share helpful Email Writing tips I might write:

“Introducing a new hashtag #emailwriting for anyone searching for or wanting to share information about Effective Email Writing Tips.”

Once that’s done, anyone can start tweeting with that hashtag and it will be counted in Twitter search and quite a few Twitter search and hashtag tools.

So go ahead – create a relevant hashtag next time you tweet – who knows – it may even go viral and suddenly thousands of people may be posting and commenting about your tweet.

Happy communication and email writing. 

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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