What is a Twitter Hashtag?

A hashtag (#) is an easy way for Twitter users to categorize Tweets that share a common topic or belong to a particular group of interest.  Simply put, a hashtag on Twitter is a keyword or phrase that is preceded by a pound (#) sign, as with #socialmedia or #dallascowboys.  People who are interested in the topics of ‘social media’ or ‘Dallas Cowboys’ can click the hashtag and will be led to a page that lists all Twitter users who have applied the hashtag in their own posts.

How Many Hashtags on Twitter Should I Use?

Too many hashtags on Twitter will be deemed spammy.  Using three or more hashtags in one Tweet risks “raising the ire of the community.

Posting too often with hashtags can get you in trouble with the Twitterverse as well.  Specificially, Twitter accounts will be deemed to be “spamming” if used to post numerous updates using a # that are unrelated to the hashtag topic or group, resulting in permanent suspension of the offending account.

Therefore, for best results, use 1 to 2 hashtags in a Tweet where the keywords are related to the subject matter of the Tweet.

Example of a Well Used Hashtag on Twitter:

Enjoying the Monday Night Football game #MNF #DallasCowboys with my son.

In this example, we’ve used a maximum of 2 hashtags that are related to the topic.

Example of a Poorly Used Hashtag on Twitter:

Enjoying the Monday Night Football game #MNF with my son #Amway #getrichquick #workfromhome

In this example, too many hashtags were used and 3 of them were unrelated to the topic of the Tweet.

Here’s Twitter‘s official statement on hashtag abuse.

“The following behaviors and others like them could cause your account to be filtered from search, or even suspended:

  • Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.
  • Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.
  • Tweeting about each trending topic in turn in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising.
  • Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed.
  • Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.”

How Do I Find the Best Hashtags To Use?

The difference between using the right hashtag and the wrong one will be the difference between being found or not found on Twitter.  The best way to find analysis of the popularity of hashtags is by using the website www.Hashtags.org.

www.Hashtags.org tracks the frequency that a hashtag is used on Twitter and provides details about the hashtag.  On this site, you can enter in the hashtag you’d like to use and see if anyone is looking for it.  This will allow you to test multiple hashtags in order to determine which one is ultimately best for your post.

For example, in the illustration above, I chose to see how often the term #hashtags was used.  The graph details that it is trending anywhere from 38 to 130 searches between the hours of 9am and 7pm, with most of the trending occurring later in the afternoon or early evening.  This information would give me information to see if this was the keyword I wanted to use and the best time to post my Tweet.

For more information on Twitter Hashtags and other social media sites for business, please visit http://SocialMediaIn7Minutes.com.