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Hashtag how-to for Twitter.

By Marissa Buie

Blue hashtagWant to start using hashtags in your Twitter conversations, but not sure how to start? #dontworry #wevegotyoucovered

Alright, that was kind of an inappropriate use of hashtags, but it was hard to resist.

So, why use hashtags?

  • They can be fun conversation starters and a serious way to interact with consumers.
  • They’re a way to show off your creative side, and add excitement to your story.
  • Engaging potential customers through hashtags can be a way to show that your company is up to date and relevant.

If you want to start adding hashtags into your social media presence, but don’t know how to use them, have no fear. Social Media Examiner has a list of great advice  to help you get started. Here is one of the most vital tips for newbies.

#4: Search for the Hashtag Before You Use It

The worst thing that can happen when using a hashtag is to realize after it’s tweeted that the same hashtag is used for an entirely different topic.

Embarrassing situations can occur if you don’t do your research first. What if the hashtag you’re using has already been used in a discussion about something negative? What if the hashtag is associated with a natural disaster in another country, but you didn’t realize until after you sent your tweet?

Before using a hashtag, you always need to search to see if other people are using it and what they are saying.

Entenmann’s learned this the hard way when they used the hashtag #notguilty to talk about their cookies when other people were using it to talk about Casey Anthony’s#notguilty murder trial verdict.

They apologized and admitted afterwards that they had not researched what people were saying on the hashtag ahead of time and therefore did not mean to tweet something so insensitive.

Take what Entenmann’s learned as a lesson. Always check what people are saying on particular hashtags before you tweet anything. If you want your tweet to stand out, tweeting on a negative hashtag is not the way to do it.

The goal is to generate positive buzz about your company or product, not to cast your company in a bad light with an ignorant tweet. Do your research before you tweet so there aren’t any surprises about what the hashtag you use is associated with. There are many rookie mistakes to be made in this category, but we hope that you won’t be the one making them. Get out there and start hashtagging!

Image credit: thomaspajot / 123RF Stock Photo

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