Any Twitter user worth his salt will want to know how to tag on Twitter. Why? The answer is simple: using hashtags is the quickest way to kill two birds with one stone and build your following while carving out your niche–i.e. people who are interested in the same topics you are or are interested in what you are offering if you are offering a product or a service. Regardless of whether you are using Twitter for business or for pleasure, defining your audience is integral to making it work for you.
- Decide what the topic of your tweet is, and tag appropriately using a hashtag. For example, say you're reading the news online and you're reading a news story that you would like to share. In order to share it and tag on Twitter, you would use a hashtag–also known as a "pound sign"–to identify it as news, like this: #news. Once you add that into your tweet and send it, you will see it turn blue and you will be able to click it. Clicking it will automatically run a Twitter search for that tag, and you will see all the tweets that contain the tag #news. Your tweet will be included in that search, so people who are not necessarily following you will be able to find it. Place your hashtags toward the end of your tweet so they are less likely to get in the way of a user reading the actual tweet. The exception to this is if you are retweeting someone else's tweet, in which case anything that you add, including hashtags, should be placed before the RT so you won't be putting words in anyone's mouth.
- Don't be afraid to use multiple tags per tweet. If the news story is about Rwanda, for example, you may tag the tweet with #Africa #Rwanda #news. You may also want to tag the media outlet to which you are linking (you always want to give credit, and it helps to clue your readers into where the link will be leading them if you're using a URL shortener, which is often necessary on Twitter). So if it's a CNN article, your tweet could look like this: "[Title of Article] [Link to Article] #CNN #Africa #Rwanda #news."
- Beware of the space bar. Avoid the common mistake of inserting a space between the pound sign and the tag itself, like this: # news. This will break the link and your tag will not be clickable; it will be useless. If you want to use a tag that comprises multiple words, eliminate the space between the words, like this: #MothersDay.
- Decide which topics/products/services you want to promote; use these tags often. For example, if you are promoting your advice with regard to search engine optimization and web marketing, start to tag on Twitter using #marketing and #SEO as often as possible. This will attract the people who are performing these searches and likely will be seeking out your advice, attracting a base that will include colleagues as well as potential customers.
- Be aware of Trending Topics. On your Twitter homepage, there will be a list of Trending Topics on your right-hand sidebar. These are the topics that are currently being discussed on Twitter the most. Some will be hashtags. If you can find an excuse to use these, your tweets will be included in the most popular searches. They're often games like #SometimesIWonder. If you want to pitch a blog, tweet: "#SometimesIWonder why more people aren't reading [Link to Blog]."
- Discover twibes. Twibes are groups of people in a certain niche who use the same hashtags to find each other. For example, in politics, liberals tend to mark their tweets with #p2 and conservatives use #TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter). Learn which twibes you'd be interested in joining at www.twibes.com.
- Watch your following grow. The moderate use of hashtags (everything in moderation!) will soon lead to a steadily growing group of followers who share your interests and enjoy what you have to say. Look at that! You have a platform! Use it wisely.