If you’re active on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly run into many hash tags (#thingsThatHaveThisSignInFrontOfThem)….and they are great…..when used well.  Just so you know, this ~~> # <~~ is a hashtag.

But recently Tweeps have been hash tagging EVERYTHING and it is driving me crazy.

Oh, I’m not talking about the fun little hash tagged tweets that say things such as #probablyshouldhavestayedhome.  THAT incites curiosity.

What I’m referring to is the overuse of hash tags in tweets such as “RT @TwitterUser Visit us on the web! #socialmedia #smallbiz #JustinBieber #Kony2012 #cupcakes #lkljl ”   —- UGH! Clearly this person just wanted to show up in different trending topic streams.

Just a quick word about trending topics: it used to be fairly easy to have an event become a trending topic but now it’s much more difficult.  TTs seem to have been taken over by Justin Beiber fans, and RIP announcements.  I will say that trending topics are a great place to find out the latest news – earthquakes, the latest celebrity death (or none-death), sports updates, etc.

Okay, back to the topic at hand:

Don’t place too many hash tagged items in one sentence. Here is a tweet that I saw today: 5 Effective #PublicRelations Tips for #Startup #Business (link) #PR   <~~~that is not pleasant for the eye or mind to follow and will probably not be read.

It’s even worse when hashtags are used in Twitter Bios!  Does anyone actually think that a potential Twitter follower knows what all the acronyms mean?  I recently read a bio that said #coffee lover #tcot #sthkk #lske #smm2 #LTC

This tells me nothing except that he likes coffee.    NEXT!

So what are the correct ways to use a hash tagged tweet? 

1.  For an event

If you are conducting a webinar or teleseminar, or an in-person event, you want to ask your participants to use use a hash tag as they are sending out tweets from your event.  This creates interest and more buzz for your event. You may even get some late registrants because of the curiosity factor.  We ALL want to be where everyone else is!

South by Southwest, which takes place in Texas,  is always a huge event and people who want to follow along can easily do so by typing in #SXSW in the Twitter search box.

If you have been following #SXSW, you may also have noticed the hash tag #Secretwineparty started by Gary Vaynerchuk.  Throughout the evening he sent tweets followed by that hash tag as to where this party might be and a few lucky folks were able to spend some time with him.

2. To Find Other Twitter users to Follow

Many of you know that I’m a registered nurse and when I first joined Twitter, I was caring for my father so I wanted to follow nurses, caregivers and those who knew about dementia.  By following #nurse #caregiving #eldercare and #dementia, I was able to connect with many authorities, nurses and other caregivers.

Now as a social media manager, I follow #smm #hcsm  which means healthcare social media (that’s one example of a hash tag I would NOT put into my Twitter  bio because it is not well-known; it provides NO information) and as a small business owner, I follow #smallbiz.

To find other like-minded tweeters and learn the symbols used in your industry, do a twitter search.  For instance, if you are a website designer, search “website designer” and you may find the hastags #Wordpress #WP #website.

If you are creating a hashtag for your event, or promotion, make sure that others are not already using it.  Volkswagon made a serious goof this year when they hash tagged their new promotion with the same tag used by fans of a current rap musician.  They were forced to change that hash tag halfway through the day.

3. To hold “Tweet Chats”. 

Tweetchats are chats where people of a certain interest can easily follow what the other Twitter participants are saying by following a given hash tag.  There is usually a moderator or two and often, questions are asked and answered.

For example, there is a daily “social media girlfriend” chat that utilizes the hash tag #smgirlfriends.

To make this process even easier, Twitter users can log into Tweetchat.com and enter the hash tagged event name (#smgirlfriends or whatever chat you are choosing to follow) and all those tweets will be isolated and automatically refreshed so that a conversation can take place.

To find a list of scheduled tweetchats, try these links:  Gnosis Media Group  or Twitter Chat Schedule or 25 Twitter Chats Every Entrepreneur Must Know.

4. For a sale:

If your business is having a sale and you’d like help spreading the word about it, use a hash tag and offer a special incentive or discount for anyone who knows the hash tag. For example, you might use #SaveBigAtBens.  Ask your followers to share.

5. To categorize your Twitter community

Using hash tags is a good way to set up permanent columns when using Hootsuite, Market Me Suite, Tweetdeck or even Twitter.

So now that you know  some great ways to use hash tags, #please #don’t #overwhelm #your #community by #using #them the #wrong #way.   :)










  1. You forgot one. . . what about the people who use hashtags in their profile like: #online #guru #callme #anytime. It’s hashtags gone CRAZY! LOL

    Anyway, you give a nice list of the ways hashtags are meant to be used. Listen up people!

    • Yes, Martha, that drives me crazy, as well! I tend not to read them and rarely follow back anyone whose profile is stuffed with hash tags.

      Thank you for the compliment!

      ~ Shelley

  2. Hi Shelley!
    Yes, it can be very annoying when people use so many hashtags. Especially if they reetweet them and use many @names also. Then there’s not much room for other words than hashtags and @names lol.

    I think one of the many reasons why some people have more than one hashtag is that there’s an option in Feedburner that automaticly turns all tags in a blog post into hashtags. That way, if you have many tags in your post they’ll all show as hashtags in tweets.


  3. It maybe over whelming to look at in a stream but then just over look it. Hashtags hyper link so if someone does not know what an acronym means…click to follow the conversation and find out.

    • Not all hash tags hyperlink, in fact few those used on Twitter are hyperlinked. If the person using them as an acronym WOULD hyperlink them to an explanation, that would be beneficial. Thanks for your suggestion.

      ~ Shelley

  4. All I can say is – #I #feel #the #exact #same #way about tweets that consist mainly of hashtags. Thank you for the primer on when to use hashtags and when not. Sometimes, learning Twitter can feel so intimidating.

  5. I think there’s another one. (I generally just use hashtags to allow blogging communities to follow, though). And, that’s when what you are describing is a salient piece of literature that can elucidate the subject matter- hence, the tag…

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