Where have all the #hashtags gone?
Anyone who uses Twitter will understand that looking at your general news feed, and the people you follow, is something left for spare time. But, with so little spare time, is it reasonable to trawl through the tweets in your timeline? I manage to read through the first 20 or 30 posts in my news feed a couple of times a week, if lucky. For the time poor, or strategic Twitter user, the hashtag is vital. The use of hashtags makes finding relevant information easy. Personally, I search for specific hashtags when I want to find pertinent and topical information. If you are time poor I would highly recommend this as a strategy.
However, where has the hashtag gone? As I flick through my news feed I have noticed a distinct lack of hashtags. Two to three hashtags per post are the optimal number, but I am seeing some really interesting posts on Twitter that are not using any hashtags, and I am only seeing them by chance. This is problematic both because I am missing seeing some interesting information, but also because these tweets are not as effective as they could be.
Do users not understand how to use hashtags? Or have users decided they don’t want to use hashtags?
From my own experience, and from recent reports, tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement and are 55% more likely to be retweeted. This means that the use of hashtags significantly increases your engagement and the likelihood of people seeing, reading, and retweeting your tweets, something that makes the time you put into Twitter much more valuable.
If you want more mileage for your tweeting effort follow these simple hashtag rules:
- Find relevant hashtags in your field – look at what others are doing, or use a simple Google search to find them.
- Look for hashtags that are trending – perhaps your tweet fits within a current trend or is topical at the moment.
- Use one to two hashtags in every single tweet.
- If you retweet something that does not have a hashtag, add one!
Make your tweets count, let people find you, don’t be just another voice in a constant Twitter stream.