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Tweets are short and snappy; characteristics that contribute to its fast-paced nature.

How Twitter Hashtags Work

Twitter is huge. It’s an exciting platform to be on and an amazing marketing tool. If you use hashtags effectively that is! It really does make good sense to know how Twitter hashtags work.

It’s where conversations begin, trends reign, news breaks, and is the ultimate destination to find out what’s happening in the world.

Tweets are short and snappy; characteristics that contribute to its fast-paced nature.

How did Twitter hashtags come about and why are they still going strong?

Hashtags were invented by Chris Messina, an American blogger, in 2007. He wanted to create a simple way of grouping together subject areas without using complicated coding. He proposed using hashtags on a Tweet to help people group their tweets into subject areas that other people with common interests could find.

This ingenuity led to the rise of the hashtag, which soon became entrenched in the culture of Twitter and adopted by the other social media platforms.

Hashtags are invaluable when it comes to Twitter and social media in general. They are basically a word or short phrase with a hashtag at the beginning, with no spaces in-between. For example here I’m using #TEDxWarrington to help raise awareness of the upcoming TEDx Warrington event that I support. By adding a hashtag it highlights the words in blue creating a clickable link.

And look what happens when I click through on the #TEDxWarrington hashtag 👇. All other posts that feature that hashtag appear. If I want, I can use the tabs at the top to narrow down my search further; I can look for the top posts, the most recent ones, to see the people associated with the hashtag, the photos, and the videos. Twitter hashtags are brilliant for researching area’s of interest or following conversations around a particular event or initiative.

What does a hashtag do?

To search for a particular hashtag all you have to do is type in what you’re looking for in the search bar at the top. Once done, Twitter will very generously show you all the Tweets that include it. I use #socialmediatraining as one of my hashtags, this way I know that anyone interested in social media training is likely to search for this hashtag and see me and my posts pop up in front of them.

If you were to ask me, ‘what are hashtags on a Tweet’, I’d say that they are just like the contents of the world’s largest filing cabinet. But instead of having to wade through copious amounts of paper, you simply tell Twitter what you’re after and it’ll show you everything that it has on that specific subject in a split second.

Do Hashtags help on Twitter? Yes, they get you better reach.

If you’ve not already worked it out already, you can really boost the reach of your posts by using hashtags. People regularly search hashtags, this means that every time you tweet using a hashtag, your post may get seen by anyone searching for that hashtag. How brilliant is that?

How to use twitter hashtags

It’s super simple. Here’s how to use hashtags on a Tweet:

  • Anyone can make up a hashtag, therefore it can be bespoke to your business
  • you can place a hashtag in the Tweet itself or place them at the bottom.
  • it can be a standalone word or more than one joined together without a space in between them.
  • they’re not case sensitive, but it does help visually impaired people to understand a hashtag if you capitalise the words within it. For example, #socialmediatraining would be easier to understand if it was written like this, #SocialMediaTraining.
  • make sure that the hashtags are relevant to what you do you, and to the content of the Tweet.
  • do your research.

Who is on the lookout for hashtags?

When you consider the vast array of people who are choosing to search specific hashtags, you’ll realise the importance of them.

  • Your potential customers will use them to find people just like you.
  • Journalists use them to spot newsworthy articles.
  • Researchers use them to discover the latest information.
  • You can use them to see what your competition is up to, to spark discussions, and so much more.

Why you need to research your Twitter hashtags before you use them?

Some companies have unintentionally caused irreparable brand damage by using a hashtag that had a meaning they weren’t aware of. Just a quick search of a hashtag, which takes seconds, will prevent this happening to you.

For example, DiGiorno Pizza infamously used the hashtag #WhyIStayed to promote their product. Now, I can’t say for sure whether this was a mistake or deliberate, but if they’d done their research properly, they’d have realised that this hashtag was used to raise awareness and support domestic abuse victims. By using this hashtag they were trivialising domestic violence.

The Tweet backfired, and rightly so. If anyone needs to learn how to use hashtags on Twitter, it’s these guys!

Further reading

Head to my blog, ‘Top Twitter Tips For Business’ which reveals the best 7 steps to take to create the ultimate Twitter account.

Have you joined The Social Flock?

If you struggle with what to post on Twitter and would like more engagement on your Tweets then come and join The Social Flock!

This is a community of like-minded business owners that come together every week to create their weekly social media posts. If you find planning your social media content a bit of a burden, struggle to find a time to dedicate to your digital marketing, feel alone and stuck for ideas, or even lack confidence about a post so much so that it prevents you from publishing it, then The Social Flock is for you.

  • Your posts will become consistent.
  • You can buddy up to appraise each other’s posts to boost confidence.
  • There will be a monthly content planning workshop so your posts reflect your bigger picture.
  • There will be training sessions to really elevate your knowledge.
  • It is an opportunity to share thoughts and insights.
  • You’ll never be short of inspiration.
  • You can ask others to like a post to give it the traction it needs.
logo- Picture of a cartoon sheep with The Social Flock words around it

We’d love to see you in our supportive hub of like-minded business professionals who simply want to improve their visibility on social media.

Come and join The Social Flock, just click on the button below

Bye for now,


Becs Bate
Social Media Consultant, Social Media Executive


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