You’re on Twitter and you’ve seen hashtags littering your timeline. Have you ever tried using them in your tweets? If so, do you know if you’re using them effectively?
We’ve learned that it can be helpful to tag a blog post with a number of keywords and phrases in order to make it easier for people to find our post.
That approach doesn’t directly work on Twitter. You only have 140 characters to convey your message and make your tweet easily searchable, plus you want to leave some room for others to be able to add their own comments when they retweet you.
Hashtags work best when they are short. An effective hashtag should identify you and your business in some way, but be general enough to be searched by the people you want to find you.
For example, if you run a consulting firm in Toronto that works with Human Resources departments in the manufacturing industry, something like #consultingforhrdepartmentsinmanufacturingcompanies is overkill. I know, I’m exaggerating to make the point, but stay with me here. For starters, it’s way too long. It is also very, very specific and probably not something people will generally search for.
Instead, you might use hashtags like #Toronto, #consulting, or #HR. These are specific in terms of your geographical area, industry or type of work, and the audience you hope to reach, but are still general enough to be easily found.
I recommend using one or two hashtags per tweet. But keep them short! Tweet more often using a range of hashtags. Remember that you want to leave room for people to add their own comments if they retweet you. Let people into the conversation if they wish to join.
Keep in mind that you likely won’t be making an immediate sale using Twitter. Instead, you’ll be making an immediate impression on the long road to getting folks to know, like and trust you so that they may decide to do business with you. Twitter can be a good way to let your ideal client or customer find you and get to know you. It allows you to build a rapport with people who may turn into clients. It gives you a chance to share information with people and if they like you and what you’ve shared, it gives you a chance to earn their trust and their respect for what you have to offer.
I know it might seem counter-intuitive to use broader hashtags when you’re trying to get found online. Remember that you are using this platform to get known, and in order for people to get to know you, they have to be able to find you. Using hashtags that are very specific doesn’t make you unique; it makes you invisible to many of the people who might be looking for you. Sometimes, it can take you right out of the conversation.
To carry on with our jewelry example, once people find you, they can then learn all about your beautiful #hammeredgold rings.
Just like Twitter, this blog is meant to be a conversation, so I’d love to hear what you think. How are you using Twitter for your business? Have you used hashtags? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!