hashtagHashtags on Twitter can serve a few useful purposes, namely in helping you to promote yourself. Twitter trending topics, search and related applicatins thrive on these hashtags, as they serve as noted keywords in the sea of tweets going through the microblogging platform. So determining the perfect hashtag is akin to creating the perfect title for a blog post.

Hashtags do the following:

  • Grab people’s attention
    Help you gain visibility as your hashtag rises through search engines
    Creates a Twitter community around your noted term

So how do you go about deciding on a hashtag? Well, start with your topic. What will your hashtag be about and what are you trying to promote? Perhaps you have an upcoming event which you’ll be hosting or attending. If you’re hosting the event, you want to spread the word as far as possible. If you’re attending the event, you want to become part of the Twitter discussions around the event. Being the person to create the hashtag for this event puts you at the center of this activity, increasing your visibility and credibility as a resource.

Perhaps there’s merely a topic you’re passionate about, and you’d like to draw more attention to yourself in order to become a sought-after Twitterer regarding that topic. Hashtags are great for this purpose as well. Other use cases include current events in the news, or the popularization of a term that relates directly back to you as a resource, either enhancing your Twitter presence or redirecting traffic elsewhere.

Once you’ve decided on a topic, make your hashtag as short as possible. You want people to use your hashtag without wasting valuable tweet space, as you’re confined to only 140 characters. Next, make your hashtag easy to remember. Use an acronym, or a fun nickname that is both catchy and unforgettable. Keep in mind that your hashtag, like a blog title, should convey the main concept of its related tweets. To this end, try to avoid using characters. These don’t look as slick, and they can slow down mobile users who may be using your hashtag.

As with everything else on Twitter, be consistent. Use your hashtag for every relavant tweet, and include it in conversations with others on Twitter. Once others begin to use your hashtag as well, the amount of activity occurring around you and your term will increase.

In retweeting all the tweets that contain your hashtag, don’t hesitate to create a Twitter account just for this. Now you’ve got a stream of highly pertinent content for your hashtag, which can leverage traffic back to your primary Twitter account or main website.