Real-world Hashtags on Twitter: Do You Surf Tags? Do You Use Keywords?

Real-world Hashtags on Twitter: Do You Surf Tags? Do You Use Keywords?

Hashtag madness or hashtag nirvana? The approach is up to you. And while Facebook, Pinterest, G+, and LinkedIn all have #tags, the mother of all tag-vana is Twitter.

Here are a few things we know for FACTS ABOUT TAGS.

  • used extensively for marketing research
  • make twitter chats work (see
  • give events a rally point for meeting and discussing topics (#sxsw2105)
  • are overused by many (hashtag soup)
  • can be used purely for fun (#didyouseewhatididthere)
  • has great value to tv tracking (#breakingbad)
  • gives advertisers a way to measure virality and response (#oreo #superbowl)
  • makes a powerful discovery tool for finding “influencers” (#socialmedia)

Those are the things you already know about them. But what else are tags good for?

Tag Find and Follow:
If we think of them as keywords, in SEO-like terms, they are the FOCUS of a tweet. And when I am pushing a new post, I often fill up the last 14oc with some tags that I’m working to dominate. (Go do a twitter search for YOUR key tags. Are you in the top 100 taggers?_

Tag Authority:
If you know your focus, use the right tag to begin building reach and authority with that tag. And the only way to do this is frequency. Know what tags do best for your business.

Tag Reach:
Which of these tags has the most reach? #socialmedia #social #smm It’s a trick question because if you add all three you’re going to exponentially expand your reach for people interest in “social media marketing.”

Tag Buzz:
Trending tags are interesting to watch. When you see a topic trending nationally, you might consider jumping on the tag-wagon. especially if you have something valuable or funny to say.

Tag Death:
It is a fact that very few people surf tags. I think you should surf the tags you are trying to influence. How will you know what is really happening in that “key-tag” space? But a tweet without a tag is a perfectly acceptable thing as well, especially if your followers are very specifically focused on your topic.

Tag Burnout:
Yes you can over-do tagging. But if you’re not obviously over-marketing or over-tagging your tweet they CAN provide some additional reach. The most important aspect of tagging however is understanding the tag and the audience for the tag. Let me give you an example from one of my other blogs.

Know Your Tags

I write about dating after divorce on a different blog. And I was curious which tags would have the best penetration for my content. (Pun intended.) Here are the tags I looked at:


What do you think the results showed? Which was the most valuable tag? (Ask me, or google it yourself and let me know.)

Participate and Retweet

While you can research a tag easily, becoming an influencer on a tag requires effort, time, and tweets. If you tweet on #socialmedia you might start building your reach and authority on that tag by using it. And more importantly, learn it, watch it, track it, and watch what the #socialmedia stream is about. If there’s a topic that breaks out and begins trending, within your tag-verse, be an early influencer on the new trend.

Tags are all about finding and being found. If you are doing research you are looking to FIND. If you are working to build your influence you are looking to be FOUND. And then, make sure you are also goofing off with tags.

If you don’t tag it they might not ever find you or your tweet.

John McElhenney


Leave a Reply

Close Menu