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A couple of years ago, it was perfectly normal for a company advertising a product or service to include a phone number on their marketing materials underneath their logo. After a while the phone number was replaced with a website address and later on, their Facebook and Twitter profiles. This is changing once again where many companies are now including a #hashtag with their advertisements.

On Twitter you will find many people that are using #hashtags in their updates to get others to talk about a specific topic. It’s one thing to have thousands of followers on Twitter, and another of having hundreds of people to actually talk about your products or services. What do you think is more valuable? People only reading your updates and making their own judgments or people tweeting about your business, and helping you spread the visibility about your business with their own network? This doesn’t mean you should stop focusing on getting followers, just think about how you can shift your focus with your Twitter strategy to encourage conversations about your brand.

What is a @mention and a #hashtag on Twitter?

Do you know and understand the difference between using a #hashtag and a @mention in conversation on Twitter? A hashtag usually addresses a specific topic on Twitter that is popular or part of an existing discussion, while a mention often directly addresses another Twitter member. Hashtags are very popular among conference planners where they setup hashtags for conferees to follow specific information. You will also find many TV shows and new movies adding a specific hashtag to their tweets to generate attention.

When you are busy planning your social media marketing strategy, focus on a couple of unique hashtags you can use when referencing your company. While a mention alerts you easily, not all of the tweets containing direct mentions will be visible to everyone. Using a hashtag in your updates related to specific products or services that you offer is an excellent way to promote your brand to as many Twitter followers as possible.

Choosing a #hashtag on Twitter

  • Unique: Make sure that the tag you would like to use for your business is unique. Research the tags on Twitter and test potential #hashtags that you want to identify with your company.  Usually you can use your company name, but have a look if it’s not being used already.
  • Keep it short: People should be able to discuss your company or brand with as much free space as possible.  You only have 140 characters to get your message out, keep your hashtag short and to the point.
  • Promote your tag: Let people know about your #hashtag and use it often in your tweets.

Having many followers on Twitter is good. When they talk to you it’s even better. When they talk positively about your brand and services, you’ve hit the golden jackpot.