Twitter tips for creating a killer hashtag

The hashtag that you can use in Twitter is a great way to generate very specific conversations.  Just type in #, then whatever you want to track.  If you’re taking part in a Twitter party this is how you’ll follow the conversation and hashtags will also let you track breaking news or trivial things.

Currently some of the most popular hashtags in the U.S. are #StepsToSurviveAHorrorMovie and #AmericanGangster. #OccupyWallStreet was an excellent resource for following up to the second news about what was happening in Oakland and Atlanta when the police started to break up the camps.  The benefit of the hashtag is that it’s immediate, the downside is that the information can be 100% false.

Assuming that it’s a news event the hashtag was probably created by somebody who has an agenda about the event.  If it’s not a news event, be certain that the hashtag isn’t promoted.  There is nothing wrong with paid promotion, but it’s certainly different than true work of mouth or something that happened organically.

Here are some tips on creating a hashtag that will work for whatever you’re trying to accomplish.

What was that tag?

Tweet carefully and often
Tweet carefully and often

Is the hashtag easy to remember?   I’ve attended a handful of events that had unique, specially created hashtags that were difficult to remember and not written down.  If the tag is for a seminar or special event have that hashtag written down in large letters so attendees can easily see it.

Is it taken?

Look for the hashtag before you announce it publically.  Simply do a search on Twitter to see if it’s being used.  If it’s not and it’s easy to remember, then run with it.  If the hashtag is taken, see if there is an easy way to add a location to it in order to make it unique for your purposes.

Can it be made fun of?

The world of social media can be unforgiving.  Barack Obama found that out when he unveiled his latest program, complete with twitter hashtag, #WecantWait.  The slogan for the program was immediately used by those who don’t support him in a mocking way, such as “#WeCantWait for the jobs to come back.”  Granted one political side will always point at the other, but it doesn’t help when you make it that easy.

Say the tag, then spell it out

#DadsTalking is a tag that was created for dads to share ideas or parenting issues.  However, if you don’t capitalize the separate words then its #dadstalking, which was often read as #DadStalking.  Obviously a bunch of dads stalking people is not what the hashtag has in mind.  By capitalizing the two distinct words, in addition to saying the hashtag aloud make it work all around.

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Follow Katie Wagner:

Katie is the President of KWSM. Before opening the agency, she spent more than 15 years as a journalist, working for CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and National Public Radio. Katie works with clients across the country and is a popular public speaker.

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