Using #hashtags effectively on Twitter

Using hashtags on Twitter can be a way of broadening the reach of your message. They are used by people searching for offers, or others with similar interests. But which hashtags work and which don’t? And how should they be used in a tweet? I recently saw a tweet with #kindle #amazon #borrow #free #thriller #today #news and five other hashtags that would identify the tweeter. It was a little over the top. Tweeting courtesy suggests you should not use more than three hashtags in a tweet, but in any case sometimes excessive self-promotion works against your offer. Let’s say you want to post the availability of an ebook for free. Are you better to use #ebook, or #ebooks; #freeebooks or #free#books? Or some other combination, perhaps #free, #amazon, and #ebook?

You can check out the potential usefulness of each hashtag at http://hashtags.org/ which provides a graph of use over the last seven days and a list of those using it recently. Here is a graph for #ebooks.

The result above shows the proportion of tweeters using this hashtag. Looks like less than 0.01%. So let’s see what the result is if we leave the “s” off and use #ebook. We can see that the percentages are almost double that of #ebooks.

Now perhaps we might consider #free. Less specific, less targeted, but about fifty times the number of users as #ebooks. This is quite a high percentage, although it looks small, because many tweeters still don’t use hashtags. Using several hashtags together can be powerful. Below is the chart for #free.

Using these hashtags will expose your message to potentially many more users.  Try a few different words or subject headings and see what works for you.