Twitter is a busy forum, there are loads of tweets the majority of which are noise to most of us. One way of cutting through the noise is to use #Hashtags – the # symbol followed by a word or phrase. If you think about hashtags as metadata for social media they make a whole lot more sense. At first they were a fad but now they are here to stay, I have noticed people using them in LinkedIN, Google+ and even Facebook, we use them in our social network here at OptimalHQ and have been known to have #TalkInHashTag days (having fun while showing our geek side).

Here are some tips on how to make the most of Hashtags in Twitter:

Hashtags to search – using the Twitter search feature you can search on key words and on hashtags. I make extensive use of lists created via searching on a topic I am interested in eg: #Infographics or #DataVis and adding relevant tweeters who use these hashtags effectively to my lists, there are apps out there that do this for you Tagboard and Keyhole are two I have read about but not trialed.

Hashtags for reach – equally using #Hashtags yourself will extend your reach beyond just your followers – people will add you to their lists t00, and there are a few bots who retweet everything with a certain hashtag eg: #startup. Using common hashtags within your tweet will also mean your tweets come up in searches too. Remember to not overdo it just one or two key words.

Hashtags for fun – there has been a huge increase in the use of ironic #hashtags lately, some like #FirstWorldProblems and #ISeeWhatYouDidThere are a reflection of normal conversation but others like #StupidCelebrityBabyNames or #StayStrongBillyRaeCirus are very topical for the events on a given day. People invent their own ironic hashtags all the time, most are used to emphasize the stupidity of a situation or underline a point the tweeter is trying to make – but a few do take off. Jimmy Fallon has a segment dedicated to funny hashtags on his show

Hashtags just for yourself – we use our own Hashtag #OptimalOrange whenever we tweet content created by someone at OptimalHQ or OptimalBI. We do this for two reasons 1) it makes it easy for us to search for those tweets specifically and 2) as an extension of our branding. You could create your own Hashtag to use when tweeting about your own content as an extension of your personal brand like #KGBDaze or to promote your product #OBIEE.

I hope this was helpful, give using #hashtags a go and watch your twitter followers grow as a result.

This blog follows on from my two previous ones on using Twitter – aimed at friends and colleagues who are still thinking about or getting started with Twitter – so if you are wondering what on earth I am on about here have a read of those first for a bit of context on Hashtags. Happy tweeting Vic.