What’s the deal with hash tags?

If you haven’t already ventured into the world of Twitter and tweeting, that’s okay.  Twitter isn’t always the best platform to use for some businesses.  If you’ve determined that it is and you’re ready to go, here are some things to think about when using Twitter – including hash tags.

So, what is Twitter?  Twitter is a social media feed where users can share information in real time.  Think of it like a CNN or a breaking news scroll on TV.  What constitutes news is certainly up for grabs.  Most people don’t care about what sandwich you had for lunch (they might care more, though about a sandwich you had at the opening of new restaurant), but do care about a new employee hire, the daily special, expert advice or a new product launch or offering.  News traveled the fastest over Twitter, over any other news feed when Prince William and Duchess Kate’s baby was born recently.

In the same vein of what constitutes news, you generally don’t want to tweet more than 3-5 messages a day.  Make them count and worthy of your followers time.  Don’t be the person or business that tweets and quickly wears out their welcome, leading to lost followers (i.e. heavy sales tweets are a no-no).

When composing a tweet, rule of thumb is short and to the point.  You have limited characters – 140 to be exact – and you want to convey your message succinctly and clearly.

A hash tag is a feature that Twitter offers for people to easily access certain key words that are trending or to easily pull specific subject matter posted through Twitter. Hash tags can be found in front of key words and subject matter in a tweet (i.e. #royalbaby, #huskerfootball). Generally no more than two hash tags in a tweet is considered best practice. Hash tags promote global conversation – including your ability to start a conversation or join in on a conversation.

Followers are people who are following you.  You can choose to except a follower request or not but know that your tweets are still accessible for public consumption regardless.  The difference is simply that non-followers will not receive a notification about your latest tweets.  The other side, of course is that you can follow others, too.  Same rules apply.

In summary, Twitter is simple to use.  Twitter’s function is for real time updates.  Ideally, a mobile device of some sort is the best way to optimize your account use.  You want to add value to the Twitter community with quality, succinct tweets. Use subject/topic hash tags to help the Twitter community easily access the best information.  Most of all – have fun with it!  Twitter is a social media platform and designed to build relationships.  You want to encourage people to follow your feed because you’re an industry expert who has interesting, relevant and unique things to say.



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