To my dismay I found myself watching a repeat of X Factor on Sunday and was shocked – not by some of the supposedly ‘talented’ performers as you may have at first presumed – but by the use of hashtags popping up on screen.

Not being an avid watcher of the programme I was unsure as to whether this was a relatively new thing, but regardless I was quite intrigued.

The uprising of Twitter as a social media platform was somewhat quick; it almost appeared overnight as did its swarm of supporters or, as they’re known nowadays, tweeters. What started off as a mere tool for fans to follow celebrities has now turned into one of the preferred ways for businesses to keep their clients updated with blogs, exciting new projects, new products and much more.

But what exactly has the # got to do with any of that?

Used before a relevant keyword or phrase, the hastag groups tweets with the same # so they show more easily in a Twitter search. The trending topic list down the side of your twitter page depicts real-time hot topics.

Many of you Tweeters will already have a good understanding of how to use Twitter and the terminology that goes with it, but do you truly understand how to get the most out of the hashtag on your tweets?

Quick do’s and don’ts of using the hashtag

  • You don’t have to use a hastag on every one of your tweets – only the ones that are relevant to the topic you want to hashtag about.
  • You should only use a maximum of two hashtags per tweet otherwise it looks like you might be #trying #to #spam #people.
  • You don’t need spaces in between the words in a #hashtaggedphrase.
  • Remember, if you have a public Twitter account everyone who searches for that hashtag may find your tweet.
  • You can create your own hashtag topic; you don’t need to join anyone else’s if you don’t want to.

So, how can you use the hashtag for your business Twitter account? Well, there are a number of ways the hashtag can be used to promote your business, service or products. For example, if you are running a competition you can create a hashtag to tie in with it such as #koogarcompetition

You can categorise your tweets. This is especially useful to those of us who tweet regularly. For example Koogar, as a Digital Marketing company often tweets about social media terms so we can benefit from grouping our tweets like this #facebook #linkedin #SME (for small-medium sized businesses) and so on.

You can also attend or even host your own Twitter conversations – Tweetchats. Put simply these are chats that take place at a designated time and are used for people to share a topic of interest and discuss it in detail. It is similar to a panel or forum for sharing insights and tips or asking questions and educating yourself on certain topics of interest.

So now that you know a little more on the infamous symbol what are you waiting for? Sign in to your Twitter accounts and get tweeting, but remember:

  1. Keep hastagging to a minimum
  2. Keep them short
  3. Keep them simple

Happy hashtagging!