#twitter #hashtags for novices

hashtag hashOnce upon a time, I believed Twitter to be a site filled with dull people reporting about their dreary days or people bombarding me with tweets asking me to buy stuff. Yes, those exist on Twitter but it is a useful social platform and as I have gradually become more au fait with it, I have discovered a good way to use it to reach a target audience and gain interest in your tweets—use a hashtag.

What is a hashtag? It’s almost anything that begins with the hashtag symbol “#”. You will find silly hashtags #eatingsweets and sensible ones #newrelease. They are a way of organising information on Twitter. So, if you want to find out about new releases, you’d type #newrelease in the search box on Twitter. This will direct you to a Twitter page with all tweets using this hashtag.

To create a new hashtag, type the “#” symbol and add the word or phrase you want to use. When I was promoting Grumpy Old Menopause I used #menopause so anyone wanting information about the menopause could find my tweets and hopefully my book. Do not put any spaces in the phrase that you want to turn into a hashtag, because the hashtag begins with the “#” and ends with the first space. When you click ‘Tweet’, your new tweet will appear in your list of tweets, and the hashtag you created will appear in blue. Scroll over it and click on it to be redirected to the page for the hashtag. If you have really created a brand new hashtag, your tweet should be the only one on the page. Now, every time someone includes your hashtag in a tweet, it will be added to the page.

The primary purpose of a hashtag is to bring conversations on the same topic into a single thread to make it convenient for information consumers to view and compare ideas. Hashtags can therefore be extremely useful for writers.

Popular hashtags include #amwriting from people who are writing and #amediting from those who are editing. You might want to include one or two of the following when you next tweet: #askagent #author #authors #bookbuzz #books #fictionfriday #tIAG (Indie Authors Group) #novels #poem #poet #poets #poetry #pubtip (publication tips) #publishing #scifi #selfpublishing #vss (very short story) #wip #wordcount #writer #writers #writetip #writing.

It seems to me that tweets containing such hashtags are more likely to be retweeted by people who have searched for that hashtag, or who are also using that hashtag. Since I began using them, I have seen a surge in retweets and an increase in my number of followers.

A hashtag will allow your tweet to reach a larger audience than just your followers. I use #humour #chicklit when tweeting about my books. That ensures it will appeal to my target audience. Try #scifi #romance #thriller and so on for your books.

If you would like to research hashtags and see which ones are most popular or trending, there are a few sites that can give you advice. Website www.hashtags.org gives a list of trending hashtags, a graph and a search box to type in potential hashtags. After typing in a hashtag, it lists current tweets containing that hashtag. The website whatthetrend.com has current trends, a graph and a search box. It also explains why a particular hashtag is trending. And website trendsmap.com tells you what is trending where. This is particularly helpful if you’re targeting a specific area.

There is a hashtag etiquette and you should not use more than two hashtags per tweet. It is confusing and messy to use more and you’ll annoy fellow tweeters. Stick to hashtags that are relevant to the subject you are tweeting about.

Of course, hashtags are not confined to Twitter. You can use them on other sites such as Google+, Instagram and even Facebook. Try them out and see if you can #attractmorereaders and #makenewfriends.

If you feel confident and ready for an advanced course in hashtags, check out Hashtags 501 (The Graduate-Level Course).

Author: Carol Wyer

Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post. For more about Carol, go to her website or her Amazon author page.

37 thoughts on “#twitter #hashtags for novices”

  1. I”ve been puzzled since I started on Twitter about when to use a hashtag. Even those who supposedly “teach” about Twitter aren’t as direct and concise as you. Thank you very much. I’m printing your blog out as a guideline. Thank you, thank you, from a grateful #author. 🙂

    1. Wow! Thank you, Marilyn. That’s praise indeed. I’m very glad I could help explain twitter hashtags. Look forward to seeing you on Twitter #happyauthor 🙂

  2. On my agent’s advice, I signed up on Twitter five weeks ago tomorrrow. I’m about to break past 500 followers. I’ve linked my Facebook author page to Twitter so every post I make there also goes out as a tweet. I use hashtags in my Facebook posts. I am a winemaker, working on a winemaking book proposal for my agent and often post about my winemaking activities on my page. #Wine and #winemaker seem to be popular search topics. Yesterday after using #winemaker in a FB post, I picked up 4 organic follows from wine and beer distributors. My favorite follow so far came from The Wine Wankers, two guys(from Australia) in search of a good glass of wine. I’m beginning to see more potential for marketing my writing on Twitter than I see on Facebook.

      1. Richard, you are a star. Not only have you got it bang on on Twitter you make wine! I think I’m in love with you. Seriously, Twitter is much better for marketing than Facebook and you’ve discovered the secret formula. If you put the right hashtags you will make a big difference to who sees your tweet and who retweets it. I wish you continued success and if you have any free samples of wine, I’m your gal!

        1. I’m always happy to share my wine with friends. I have a 200 case cellar that goes back to 1986 with 130 different vintages .. only 2 of them made from grapes. I published an article on herbal wines in The Herb Companion magazine in the Dec/Jan 93/94 issue. I have French Tarragon and Basil wines to die for and the various hot pepper/citrus wines I’ve been making since ’92 seem to be the favorites. Kumquat Kung Pao is one of my favorites. When my book Bountiful Bonsai is released in December, I will host a wine tasting/book signing event where I will serve wine made from the actual fruits illustrated in the book. Some of my bonsai had 100 ripe citrus fruits when we took the pics. Everyone is invited if you can make it to Colorado.

  3. #Greatpost, Carol! 😉 I’ve heard the limit is three hashtags per tweet. But I think as long as you don’t #hashtag #every #word in your #tweet ;), it’s more or less okay. I’ve seen some tweets that are nothing but hashtags. Those are practically unintelligible.

    1. Thank you, Lynne #topwriter. Those lists with hashtags make my eyes hurt. It’s bad form to put too many in a tweet and three is acceptable. Two is neater and looks like you know what you’re doing.

  4. Hi Carol,
    Thanks for mentioning that people shouldn’t hashtag more than twice in any particular tweet. On Pinterest I often have to clean out ten hashtags before I repin. As you pointed out, it is better to carefully choose the bucket you want the tweet or pin to go in. #happytoknowyou

    1. I hate messy tweets! I might have some sort of disoprder but i want to rub them out when I see them. It must be worse when you are trying to repin. #bestpinnerIknow.

  5. Very easy-to-follow post, Carol, thanks. I’d suggest the hashtag #Indie as your tweet will also be seen by other independent artists, like musicians, who may be in a good mood. I get a few retweets like that

    1. Thank you, Chris. Thank you. #Indie is a great suggestion. I have also had retweets from musicians, as you point out, and other writers who aren’t following me.

  6. This sheds a little light for those of us struggling to emerge from the stone age. I shall try to muddle through. One wonders what #octothorp might bring about? At least they didn’t call it a “pound key” tag.

      1. acflory, you have made me snigger so much I have dribbled my morning coffee down my front.
        John, If you search hashtag octothorpe on twitter you get all sorts of interesting and time wasting stuff to look at and can follow Dr Octothorpe. I might try and use #octothorpe to see if it make my tweet go further.

  7. Great post, Carol! This should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking of using Twitter! I’ve sort of got the hang of the basics now, but I’ll definitely be checking out the advanced tutorial for more tips. 😀

    1. Thank you, Andrea. I’ve been enjoying your comments here this morning.Once you get the basics, the rest is easy. I’ll be looking out for your tweets now to grade them and make sure you use the hashtags 😀

  8. Twitchy.com will let you follow immediate or celebrity-backed “trends” as well. Probably not quite as useful as the other sites listed, but it’s there.

    Now to go check out the grad course!

  9. Thanks, Carol, I’m definitely a novice tweeter and your post is a great help. It may be a while before I progress to grad school but at least I now understand what hashtags are for.

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