What are Twitter hashtags?
When Twitter started there was a fundamental problem. There was no real way to categorize and group similar tweets. Short of using the search function to find topics of conversation, there was no way to see trends in conversation. This is where the hashtags come in. Simply placing a pound key in front of a key word makes it a hashtag – say for example – #golf, #TigerWoods, #PGA. This simple addition allowed Twitter users to give a context to their tweets so people could easily find and follow what they were talking about.
Take this example:
“Did you see that shot? Wow, that’s gonna be the shot of the year!”
The tweet above doesn’t have any context, and therefore doesn’t make much sense to anyone – what sport are they talking about? Who made the shot? By utilizing hashtags, this tweet can all of a sudden provide some background info and context. See below for the revised tweet:
“Did you see that shot? Wow, that’s gonna be the #golf shot of the year! #tigerwoods #ryder”
Now, with the use of hashtags, your fellow tweeters all of sudden realize your talking about a golf shot Tiger Woods made at the Ryder Cup.
Tracking and monitoring hashtags is a great idea for marketers – simple typing in keywords preceded by a hashtag will give you an idea of the conversations going on in those topics. You can also use a tool like hashtags.org to search the usage of specific hashtags over time. Twittervolume.com allows you to search and compare up to three hashtags at a time.
A little tip with hashtags, do some research before using them, for example if you’re a Window Manufacturing company just searching #windows will bring up tons of info on Microsoft. By searching more than one hashtag you can get a better idea of how people categorize your company.
Start doing some research on #hashtags, and get in the know on Twitter.