#Hashtags — #Why, #When, #What, #How
Some of the most common questions (and debates) that come across my desk involve Twitter hashtags. What is a hashtag? Should I create one for my event? How do I use it? What should my hashtag be?
I’m going to attempt to give a fairly comprehensive guide to hashtags, and how to use them at the University of Michigan.
WHAT IS A HASHTAG?
According to the Twitter Help Center (support.twitter.com), the definition of a hashtag is:
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
- People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to help them show more easily in Twitter search.
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all the other Tweets marked with that hashtag.
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.
Using hashtags correctly:
- If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
- Don’t #spam with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet — Twitter best practices recommend using no more than two hashtags per Tweet.
- Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.
Using digital tools to make meetings fun
Yesterday the University had a meeting of the Communicators Forum, a group that ranges anywhere in size from 150-300+ people. The topic of the meeting was social media, so it was only appropriate to try some new, cool ideas.
The meeting was broadcast on Spreecast, although we had a bit of a learning lesson: we need to buy an external microphone and place at least one computer much closer to the stage. But people were able to use Spreecast and Twitter to ask questions of the special guest speaker, Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company.
When attendees entered the auditorium, there was fun music playing, with a giant projection screen telling them how to download the playlist on Spotify: spoti.fi/M9n37e The projection also included the hashtag #UMSocial, a departure from the past, where attendees used the #commforum hashtag. This was much less insular, and enabled people outside of the meeting follow along and participate.
There were 440 tweets using the #UMSocial tag, with 88,836 impressions and 19,033 accounts reached JUST during that meeting.
Do you have a specific hashtag for social media at your institution? I’d highly recommend it. It’s been nothing but good news for the University of Michigan.
"That moment when you’re scanning your Twitter feed & you see that @umich reblogged YOUR tumblr photo! #toomuchawesome — @STLWolverine"