twitter logo with a hashtag

Hashtags 101: Twitter edition

august 11, 2023

As one of the largest social media platforms, mastering Twitter gives you an invaluable opportunity to reach a large audience of potential customers or followers. A large social media network comes with greater competition, but luckily tools exist to help you find your following. By using Twitter hashtags, you’ll be able to join the next #trend and grow your Twitter account.

What are Twitter hashtags?

Twitter hashtags refer to words or phrases preceded by the pound symbol that direct users to tweets and accounts relevant to what they’re searching for. For example, users searching for tweets about their favorite pets might look up #cats. When you use a hashtag within your tweet, you’re connecting to other people using the same hashtag, increasing your potential for engagement. Hashtags are used by brands, celebrities, and everyday users alike, for a variety of purposes including:

  • Promoting a brand or marketing campaign
  • Live-tweeting TV shows or breaking news events
  • Connecting with peers in your industry
  • Voicing your opinion about a trending topic

One of the best ways to engage with hashtags is by focusing on trending topics. Twitter shows trending topics and news stories within the search tab on the app and the trending tab on desktop. By using hashtags related to these trending topics, you’ll be able to join the conversation and reach new audiences.

Since trending hashtags are based on breaking news or viral memes, they tend to be unpredictable. While this can make automating your social media posts challenging, you may be able to speculate some trending hashtags in advance. For example, holidays typically trend on the days they occur, making it easy to create content with relevant hashtags. Major events, like elections or awards shows, also tend to trend on Twitter.

How to use Twitter hashtags

Once you’ve found a trending hashtag to use, you’re ready to start tweeting, but hashtags can be useful beyond joining a trend. There are plenty of opportunities to use Twitter hashtags in other creative ways to form connections or promote your business.

Consider the platform

By using the search feature on Twitter, you can quickly find tweets on a particular topic. While posts on platforms like TikTok and Instagram tend to perform well by using these types of hashtags, your strategy for Twitter should consider how users interact on the platform. Popular hashtags typically refer to specific trends or events—a tweet using #NationalDogDay would likely perform better than one with #dogs.

Start a trend

Before you tweet, consider using hashtags related to trending topics that may not currently be trending hashtags. If you have a pulse on the social media landscape, especially related to your brand, incorporate topics trending on other platforms into your tweets. For example, #sustainablefashion would be a timely hashtag for clothing brands to use, even if the topic isn’t trending on Twitter today.

Promote your brand

If you manage a Twitter account for a brand, you should also consider creating your own unique branded hashtags. Use branded hashtags to promote a marketing campaign or new product and encourage your followers to use these hashtags in their own posts. It’s a great way to increase your brand’s visibility while making it easier to find high-quality user-generated content.

Follow your favorite hashtags

You won’t be able to directly follow hashtags on Twitter the way you follow account, but there may be certain topics you find yourself going back to regularly. To easily find one, type the hashtag into Twitter’s search bar and then save the search. You’ll be able to find the hashtag within your saved search list whenever you want.

Think before you Tweet

Instead of blindly hash-tagging words within your next tweet, be thoughtful about the best ways to utilize them. Once you’ve identified a trending hashtag, make sure you fully understand the context around the trend before pressing post. Hashtags may have secondary meanings that would be inappropriate for your brand or might be created for a specific community to use to have conversations with each other. There are plenty of ways to avoid PR missteps and taking that extra time to research before you post is one of them.

Twitter hashtag best practices

It doesn’t matter if you’re using hashtags to promote your small business or just looking to find like-minded people online—following Twitter hashtag best practices will increase the visibility of your posts and improve engagement.

  • Keep it short. The top-performing hashtags on Twitter are typically only a few words long. Using shorter hashtags also gives you more room to keep your tweet under 280 characters.
  • Avoid apostrophes. Hashtags aren’t able to include punctuation, so avoid using words that require them.
  • Use them naturally. Avoid adding hashtags in awkward places within your tweet. If they don’t naturally flow with the rest of your text, add them to the beginning or end.
  • Don’t use too many. Tweets with several hashtags usually have less engagement and can distract from the rest of your post. One hashtag per tweet can often be all you need to reach a larger audience, but if you do want to add more, avoid using more than three.
  • Keep accessibility in mind. If your hashtag includes multiple words, capitalize the first letter of each word so people using audio-only features can understand your Tweet.

Whether you’ve been an active Twitter user for years or you just downloaded the app for the first time, using Twitter hashtags effectively can help you accomplish your social media goals.

Pro tip:

Save time and energy with beautifully designed Twitter templates from Microsoft Create.

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