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My aha moment of #hashtags

For the past month and half I have been tweeting and continue to do so on a daily basis as part of an assignment for a communications course I am currently taking at the University of Alberta. One of the main goals of this assignment is to increase my online social media presence and to expand my tweeter network.

Tweeting on daily basis has not been such a difficult task, as I always find interesting topics to tweet about, but increasing my network has been more challenging. Since I wanted the attention of my classmates, I used our course hashtag, #comm506, for every tweet I sent. This strategy helped me to increase the number of followers on my account in the first week of the assignment. This seemed like a great start, but in the second week I could not attract any new followers. This forced me to re-think my strategy, as I wanted to draw the attention of additional users.

During my third week, I thought that it would be a great idea to add another hashtag, something trendy and common among my tweets, and so I chose #socialmedia. I was very excited to when I saw that this hashtag attracted 3 new followers to my account. As in the previous weeks, however, I was not able to attract other followers in the following week.

In my 5th week of tweeting, I decided to play around with hashtags and add them in relation to the tweet I was tweeting out. For instance, if the tweet was about Google Analytics, I would add #googleanalytics.  This approach was very successful, resulting in a high number of new followers at the end of that week. In addition to that, I also noticed that random people sent me tweets in response to my earlier posts. That is when I had my aha moment of hashtags.

Hashtags are great! They should be used in multiple ways. First, they should be used to attract specific groups of users who are interested in similar issues. Second, it is ok to have more than one hashtag in a tweet. Lastly, it is important to add a hashtag that is related to the body of the tweet.