Once you understand how hashtags work, you can start using them yourself in tweets.
There are two main routes to go down when using hashtags:
1) Turning key words in your tweet into hashtags, picking the words that would most likely be searched. (Try not to use more than three hashtags in a tweet)
“Everyone is invited to Church this Sunday morning where we’ll be talking about Jesus”
Think about which particular words in the sentence might be the ones people will search. Words like is, to and this are definitely out. Possibly everyone, morning or talking but these are fairly vague words and wouldn’t bring up any useful results. Church and Jesus on the other hand are words people might actually be looking for:
“Everyone is invited to #Church this Sunday morning where we’ll be talking about #Jesus”
2) Create a new hashtag which is then used to group specific tweets together. This may be for an event, a campaign or just a regular feature on Twitter such as a podcast or weekly video.
“Everyone is invited to Church this Sunday morning where we’ll be starting a series of talks about Luke #Luketalks16”
This type of hashtag is generally put before or after a sentence (unless of course you’re talking about the hashtag!)
Creating a Hashtag
When choosing a hashtag, always do a quick search for it before you start using it. It’s okay to use one that has been used before but check to see when the last time someone used your chosen hashtag. If it’s clear it’s still being used regularly you’ll need to pick something else. If it hasn’t been used in a while you’re good to go.
As a hashtag has no spaces in between words, always make sure the combined words don’t spell out anything else (especially something rude). This has caused social media campaigns to backfire in the past, so don’t let it happen to you!
Finally, make it as easy as possible to remember and spell. You don’t want people to be misspelling it as you then missing all those tweets because you’re only searching for the correct spelling. You’ll also need to keep it as short as possible, as the length of the hashtag will cut into the 140 characters you have to tweet. The longer your hashtag is, the less characters people will have to tweet with.
Top Tip: When creating a hashtag for for an event or project at your church, make sure everyone knows what it is by including it in tweets and other social media channels, on your website and even on service sheets.
Use Tweetdeck or a similar resource to keep track of the people using the hashtag in tweets. There’s no point having one if you’re not able to easily see who else is using it. Keep track of any regular hashtags you use and try not to create too many at a time as it will confuse people and they won’t know what’s what.
Engaging with other hashtags
It’s always a great idea to try and get involved with the current trending hashtags, as it will help you get noticed, especially if your contribution to the trending hashtag is popular (be funny!). Always make sure you understand where the hashtag has originated from or why people are using the hashtag in the first place. When the hashtag #WhyIStayed started to trend, one pizza company started using it, only for it to backfire as the hashtag was about domestic violence.
Got any questions? Let me know in the comments below.
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