Twitter is a great tool for writers and a great place to connect with people who share like interests. I’ve chatted about how it needs to be more social than billboard-ish. I’ve even mentioned how hashtags can be used to promote your tweets.
But I’m going to share about them again. Mostly because I keep seeing them misused. I did plenty of misusing myself when I first started, so the message remains needed. Lately, I’ve seen some very clever twitter buds who would use the hashtags as the punchline of what they were saying.
Clever yes; useful no. Unless you think #mycatthrewuponme has a good following. I read a blog the other day about marketing and one of the quotes has a direct correlation to the use of hashtags on Twitter. (I SO wish I could remember where I got this note. Please leave me a comment if you know who said it so I can properly quote and credit the saying.) Find out where your audience is, then go stand in front of them.
1. First Suggestion: Find Your Audience.
That’s what hashtags are all about. #mycattrewuponme is a lousy use of space because no one will be watching that grouping of words. No one uses the hashtag, so why would anyone watch for the words to come across? Spelling it out: no audience. On the other hand, #Catjokes works! Hot hashtags include #avengers, #castle, #psych; all have quite a following of people who watch for the posts with those words and comment/share what they see.
Let’s say you aren’t a writer. How about you’re a camera nut and you want to see what other photographers are saying or thinking, or you want to find some informative blogs about becoming a professional. #photo #photographer #photography. You can do a search on Twitter and find all the recent tweets that people have made using the hashtags. Watching them and interacting with the tweeters places you within a loosely defined group of people who like photography. (BTW, #cameranut is a strikeout.)
The same can be said of any number of hobbies: #scrapbook #NASCAR #Olympics #Labradors #homeschool are a few of mine. Those are the places where I find folks to connect with who are interested in things that I’m interested in. In fact, I love being on Twitter during a NASCAR race because everyone comments on what they’re seeing. Even some of the things the drivers are saying to their crews get tweeted by their teams. What a fun idea!
Find some groups who will respond to the book you’re writing. Is it historical? Try a hashtag for the era like #Civalwar, #Regency, or #Medeival. Does it interest a special group of people like #Trekkies or #military? Try to find some hook, some common category that people who will like your book might congregate near. I have a problem with this because mine’s contemporary romance/suspense. The hashtags of romance and suspense are used a LOT, along with Christian and fiction. I’m still working on it though and hope to come up with some ideas.
#faithdrivenfiction is a great tagline, but on twitter, it’s where the crickets convene. And it goes back to my point about not using a hashtag as a punchline. #slickerthansnot might be the perfect ending for your tweet, but it won’t get you any extra views. If you want to be seen, usually the point of twitter, then use hashtags that people look at.
And if you’re wanting to connect with other writers, (I use these hashtags when I’m posting about anything to do with the life of a writer) you could use #amwriting #writetip #pubtip #writer. You could also use special group hashtags, like #mywana or #ACFW, but only if you’re a member of the groups.
2. Second Suggestion: Visit the Hashtag BEFORE Using!
You will get fussed at for using #hashtags incorrectly. Yes, I’ve been there!
Having seen the label #wordmongering, I assumed it was another general writing group and used the hashtag on a blog article that I wrote about writing. Sure, they want to read it, right? … Um … notsomuch. See, #wordmongering is a challenge group of writers who use the hashtag to encourage each other to keep writing through half-hour sprints. I received a very nice note from the gal who created the hashtag and an invitation to do some word mongering, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. But I don’t post my blog ads there!
Oh and I must share a great article – short and sweet – about gaining followers on Twitter. http://aheartforgod.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-ways-to-get-more-followers-on.html I swear the image looks like a magazine cover and I was totally inspired! So cool!
Your turn! What are some hashtags you’ve used or some that you watch?