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Hashtags are a way of life on Twitter. Every time you post you should use a hashtag (#) to categorize your post so it can be found and subsequently reposted by the rest of the Twitter community. But did you know there is an art and science to which tag you should use? We’ve identified 3 key factors to hashtag success.  Throughout this article we’ll be using information obtained from What the Hashtag?

1. Use Longer Hashtags

This may be counter-intuitive given the limiting 140 characters from Twitter but the object of using hashtags (at least for your business) is to help the Twitter community find your post and repost it if they think it is worthy.  It does you no good to write a great article with a killer headline if no one is going to see it.  The two illustrations below show you the difference between using #fb and #facebook as your hashtag:

7 days stats

stats description

As you can see the #fb hashtag is used approximately 40,000 times per day – or about 28 times per minute!  It won’t take long for you to get pushed off the results page for anyone doing any tracking for that phrase.  On the other hand, the #facebook tag is only used about 3,000 times per day or about 2 times per minute.  Your window for showing up in searches is still very small – less than half an hour – but that sure beats the 1-2 minutes you have with the short hashtag.  If you only have the room to use one hashtag than it makes sense to use the longer of the two because it is less volume and you’re more likely to have your tweet seen by those doing searches by hashtags.

2.  Use Multiple Hashtags

Assuming you have the space, it is good to use multiple hashtags in a post.  We learned in #1 that you’ve got a limited amount of time for people to see your posts so it is advantageous to post with multiple hashtags whenever possible.

Let’s look at another example with LinkedIn.  The company itself uses the hashtags #in and #li and the community uses #linkedin a lot.  Let’s do a quick comparison:

multiple hashtag

first discovered

The longer of the two hashtags, #linkedin, only averages 12-13 citations a hour.  We can speculate that more people do searches for #in because it is used a lot more (thus people are going to find more information surrounding the information they’re looking for).  However, if you do a search for #in you’ll find lots of articles not related to LinkedIn.  So, while you may find a larger audience for the shorter hashtag it won’t be as specific.

3. Avoid Trends

While it may be cool and fun to join in on a trending hashtag it isn’t likely to gain you many followers.  Again – if the purpose of your post is just to share your thoughts or engage your followers with a specific tweet then go ahead and use it.  But if you join in on a trend thinking your humorous insight will attract a few followers, think again!

avoid trends

As you can see the trending topic for today is #youknowwhatsannoying – it is only noon and over 14,000 people have already tweeted it!  One of these is being tweeted every 3 seconds.  Truly amazing speed!  (Imagine if we could figure out how to get the community to tweet with this kind of speed with your brand name in the hashtag!)  But, because it is trending so quickly, very few people will see your tweet.

Do you have a hashtag strategy?  What have you learned?  Please comment below!

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