Category Archives: Twitter

Hashtag Tips

#Hashtags #drive #me #nuts #when #they’re #overused. Above all, what you’re trying to do with your posts is appeal to your customers, keep them up to date with your brand and with what you’re doing without coming over too salesy (because then they are likely to just unfollow you). Yes, you need to reach as many of them as possible, otherwise you might be wasting your time and yes, hashtags can help you do that. However, they are horrible to look at, and when you stuff your sentences with hashtags it starts to look more and more like you’re posting spam – there needs to be a balance between hashtags and content.

Many sources say two hashtags is probably the most acceptable maximum amount. Even Twitter themselves – one of the main champions of hashtags – actually goes as far as to say that your account may be filtered from search results if you over-hashtag your tweets so there are real downsides to hashtag overuse.

If you want to achieve a higher view-rate on your tweets then one of the best methods is to piggyback on trending topics. Try to remember that while there are benefits to using incredibly niche hashtag terms (e.g. you’re more likely to reach the right people), you risk appearing spammy, you risk being filtered out of search results, and also, there may well be people out there who are looking for your product/service who may not know the correct terminology to search for (ever tried googling for something when you don’t know the correct search terms? That’s what you’re effectively making your customers go through if you’re using specific terms.).

There’s also the point that, contrary to popular opinion, Twitter trending topics aren’t always made up of hashtags – sometimes they are words or even phrases:

trending topics

Also, if you add “Apple” to your tweet, it may still appear in the page results when you click on “#Apple”. Yes, searching on Google for “#Apple” will bring different results to “Apple” (and it may actually be more likely to return rewards in that case) but there is clearly more to be considered than just “ADD MOAR HASHTAGS”.

That said, there are times when hashtags just plain shouldn’t be used –

LinkedIn – LinkedIn stopped supporting hashtags in 2013. You’ll notice they don’t get linked in posts, they’re no longer used in their search facility, and you’ll also notice that they look horrible! Stop it!

Website metadata such as page titles – just no.

As a last point, please do not try to turn anything with punctuation in it into a hashtag – hashtags break with special characters. Rethink your hashtags.

TrueTwit

Recently I followed someone using this service – TrueTwit. Basically, when you get a new Twitter follower it sends out a Direct Message asking them to go fill in a CAPTCHA so they can tell whether your new follower is a real person or a bot. If your new follower passes the test then you get an email saying they’re not a spammer.

As a user, I find this pretty rude. Following an account on Twitter is essentially you singing up to receive their updates – it’s you telling them, “I’m interested in what you’ve got to say, I want to read your news”. For them to then turn around and say, “Well, we think you’re a spammer, complete this test” right off the bat is a pretty cheeky first impression to give fans/potential clients.

How big of a problem is having spam followers in the first place? Let’s not forget that this service sends a DM when they follow you (effectively doing no harm), not when they tweet at you. It’s not going to eliminate unsolicited spam tweets, therefore I don’t really see it as adding enough value to outweigh the drawbacks.

Does it really matter if you have higher follower numbers than is 100% accurate? If you’re looking at metrics, then yes, it matters a little – it means your numbers will be off by a fraction. Welcome to life. However, most of the social media metrics aimed at follower numbers are geared towards “Higher number = better” so surely having more followers is a good thing anyway?

On the TrueTwit website they point out that the tool helps you “save time managing followers”. If you are going through and deleting followers then I can assure you that is time which would be better spent doing something more productive – just leave them! The top twitter accounts are definitely not doing this – and you don’t have to either.

Accusing genuine users of being spammers and making them jump through hoops to get your updates for the sake of weeding out a few spam accounts is a downright terrible idea and I can imagine leads to a lot of people unfollowing (I certainly did).

UPDATE:

TrueTwit evidently weren’t too chuffed with my post and, in another great display of ‘how not to do social media’, have blocked me for it.

truetwit

I did a quick search and it turns out this is standard practice for them – true professionals.

More blog posts about TrueTwit from around the web:

The Truth About TrueTwit Validation – Inbounderish
How TrueTwit Helps You Help It Make Money – And Waste A Ton Of Time – Adweek
Stop using TrueTwit to stop being used by TrueTwit to make money for TrueTwit – Examiner
Why TrueTwit Doesn’t Work for Me – Confluence Media
Why I started @StopTrueTwit – by @Spacefem on Medium