Wednesday Wing – #Hashtags: How to Use them and How Not to #TwitterTip #wwwblogs

This week on Wednesday Wing we are looking at Hashtags from a different view.

Please welcome back our fountain of Twitter Knowledge @TerryTyler4

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Hashtags: How to use them—and how not to

I’ve been using Twitter for so long that I sometimes forget that not everyone understands the purposes of hashtags—it’s easy to forget that every day new people arrive at the site and wonder what the hell they are, too—just like I did!

No, they’re not just random, and neither are they a magic secret that everyone knows about except you (which is what I thought at first….). They have seven basic uses, as far as I can see, which I will outline here:

Expanding the reach of your tweets

I’ve talked before about the blog share hashtags such as #SundayBlogShare and #TuesdayBookBlog. It’s not all about blogs, though; there’s also #FolkloreThursday, #MusicMonday, #MondayMotivation #FridayReads, #WordlessWednesday and so many more, which can be used for blog posts and other stuff, too. The idea is that you retweet others on the hashtag (just click on it, go to ‘Accounts’ and click on ‘Tweets’, and you see them all), and they retweet you, thus ever widening everyone’s Twitter ‘reach’. If you’re not using these, you should be!

Attracting those with interest in a certain topic

Say you’ve written a book that’s set in Cornwall, or you have a business that’s set there, or you’re posting a photograph that you took. If you hashtag #Cornwall in your tweet, it will be seen by anyone who puts #Cornwall in the search. Many cities, towns and counties have their special hour on Twitter, too; if you put, for instance, #NorthantsHour into the search, you will find the account for that hashtag, and, thus, find out when it is (Thursday 8-9 pm, actually, I just looked!). Then you can tweet during that time with the hashtag—and, as before, retweet others for maximum effect. These are used mostly for business advertising and events, but not exclusively.

For writers or tweets about writing and books, if you add #amwriting, #writers, #writetip, #amreading or #writerslifestyle to your tweet, you will get lots more retweets, as some people who used automated apps to run their accounts will set them to RT certain hashtags. I’m sure there are others, for writers and indeed for other subjects; it’s just a matter of doing a bit of research

Finding like-minded people to follow

You might want to up your following and don’t know how. Okay, say you’re interested in jazz. Put #jazz in the search, click on ‘Accounts’, and you’ll find everyone else who’s into it. If you add it to your tweets, this will gain new followers too, because others who put #jazz into the search will find YOU!

Specific events/ideas

Some people do live Twitter chats or promotions, and decide on a hashtag for that particular event. #RosieAmberParty for instance (that’s not real, by the way, I just made it up!). Say a live chat lasts for two hours and you want to take part, you just put the hashtag on your tweet and it will appear in the stream with all the other participants, so you and they can talk to each other. The recent #BloggersBash was similar, to let people know the news about the event in London, and the blog award results.

Similarly, some people tweet about a particular TV/Radio programme, while it’s on: #TheArchers or #The Apprentice, for instance. Most popular programmes have their own hashtag, often started by the production company. Or about a news item: #Brexit, #VoteLeave, #VoteRemain, etc, or something current, like #Wimbledon or #WorldCup2014, #GayPride or whatever. Fans of a certain programme, celebrity or group (you will, no doubt, have seen many about teeny bopper crooners One Direction…) make various hashtags so like-minded Twitterers can join in.

Hashtag as description: indicating the subject matter of a book, film etc

If you’re tweeting about a book, it’s general practice to add the genre/location/subject, etc of the book so that people who might be interested in it will click the link: #YA #Fantasy #Steampunk #VictorianMurderMystery #Romance #Chicago #DomesticViolence, etc etc, or anthing that will tell people what the book is about. This is SO worth doing. I recently discovered a new favourite author (Ann Swinfen), simply because she’d put #17thCentury #The Fens on a tweet for one of her books. She’s since gained several sales and some wonderful reviews from me; this also illustrates the power of the retweet: I had never heard of her, but her tweet was RTd by someone I knew. Musicians might add #rock or #country—you get the general idea!

Playing games

Hashtag games: I love them. You will have seen such things as #MakeAFilmSmaller or #FoodFilms. Many of them are all about clever plays on words; just click on the hashtag and you’ll see what’s going on. Another good way of finding people who would normally be outside your Twitter circle. Great fun, too!

Amusement

Lots of people use hashtags for humorous asides. For instance, you might be tweeting something about your day:

‘Can’t get myself going today…. #StayingInBed’.

Or ‘When’s it going to stop raining? #FlamingJune’.

Or ‘Did anyone see Michael McIntyre on #JonathanRoss last night? #WhatAnIdiot’.

This isn’t an ‘official’ use of the hashtag and there are no rules to it, it’s just something people do!

Reading Soft edge

 

And finally—How NOT to use them

Hashtagging random words

‘My guest #post on how to make the #perfect cupcakes!

Pointless, and looks silly. If anything, hashtag the word #cupcakes.

Writing the title of your book as a hashtag

Unless stacks of people are likely to be tweeting or searching for information about it, there’s little point. If you want it to stand out, you’re better off typing it in capital letters.

Using too many

‘New #blog post: #Authors #Writers #HowTo increase your #blog traffic

#Blog #Bloggers #Blogging #Advice #Goals #MondayMotivation’

Yes, it will hit all those hashtags and it’s clear what it’s about, but it looks as if it’s trying to cover all bases, and as if it’s a bit hard sell, rather than an interesting article you might want to look at.

Adding the hashtag when your tweet is nothing to do with its subject

For instance, tweeting about a jewellery product you’re trying to sell and adding the hashtag #TuesdayBookBlog. Or a tweet about your horror book with #MondayMotivation. People do this to try to attract more views, but it just makes them look idiotic/desperate/a bit cheeky. It’s known as hashtag abuse, and will probably get you blocked by the hashtag administrator (if there is one), or even reported to Twitter for spam.

Hashtag Hogging

This is when people use a hashtag like #SundayBlogShare and tweet every single blog post they’ve ever written, all at once. Will be more likely to get you blocked by people than have them read your posts.

I think I’ve covered every eventuality here! Using hashtags the right way can make so much difference to your Twitterly life; I hope it’s helped.

Rosie's Notebook

Here are links to ALL our Wednesday Wings Posts:

http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-7Lw

 

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48 thoughts on “Wednesday Wing – #Hashtags: How to Use them and How Not to #TwitterTip #wwwblogs

  1. I’m gutted! I went through every one and made it blue, thinking it would come out in the copy and paste, like it does on Blogger – bloody WordPress! (No, Rosie, of course I ddin’t expect you to do that, some people actually have busy lives!!!).

    I hope it might explain it a bit to people who are new to Twitter – I think this is where #amwriting might come in useful 😉 😀 If anyone has anything to add, please feel free!

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  2. Fabulous T and thanks for organising such a great series Rosie 🙂 I shall be sharing with my workshop people 🙂 Thanks! I can confirm that #NorthantsHour is delightfully lively, unlike some of the other Hours around here, so some hashtags get far more support than others.

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  3. Thanks for this Terry! As someone who is new to all this social media shenanigans, I find your posts incredibly helpful! (Grew up writing letters, haha!)

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  4. Great post ladies, as always I’ve come away feeling more confident in my use of Twitter. (Can I also put my name down for the #RosieAmberParty please – sounds great fun!) 😉

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  5. Last weekend I joined in with the #GrowingUpBritish hashtag, you can still do a search for it, it brought back loads of good memories, there are several similar tags like #GrowingUpIrish #GrowingUpAmerican etc as they are popular, make you look human, take you out of your book related comfort zone, get you meeting new people and are just plain old fun. If you can add a picture to a tweet with this it helps get your tweet shared.

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  6. Thanks so much for all the comments, I’m delighted that this has been of use to some people! Sorry not to answer every one individually but my neck/back is playing up and I need to get off the computer soon. Grrr!!
    #amnotwriting
    #amreading
    #NeckBraceChic
    😀 😉 😀 ;D

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  7. What an interesting post. I use Facebook, Instagram, and my blog to share news about my tween book, Pairs on Ice, and I also have a Twitter account. But I could never figure out how to use Twitter. So thanks to Rosie and Terry for this lesson on hashtags. You have opened a window for me!

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  8. Terry, these posts are great–very helpful and informative. I’ve saved and shared them all. Thanks so much! 🙂

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  9. Some great advice and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m rubbish with hashtags as I always forget but I’m going to try harder 😀

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  10. Pingback: Friday Roundup – 8th July | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

  11. Your information about hastags is very helptul.

    A turtle crossing the LA freeway…that’s what it’s like trying to understand twitter. Thanks for helping the slow among us understand how to survive it.

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