I joined Twitter just one year ago this month and caught on pretty fast, or so I thought. It seems that I may not have understood two of Twitter's biggest draws – Follow Friday and Hash tags – nearly as well as I'd initially thought.
#Follow Friday If you've been on Twitter for any time at all, then you've been caught up in the whirlwind of #FF hash tags filling your feed with who is cool according to who you follow. One night while composing tweets on my phone I realized I was just creating spam. There, I said it. I tweet out my #Ffs and several others retweet it. Cool right? Not exactly. I failed to share why I follow these people. Now I send out eight to ten tweets on who I follow along with links to their blog, website, articles and pictures. When I show others why I like a person or group, my tweets take them by the hand and show them more than just a Twitter handle. Asl yourself what makes the people you follow worth following and then make sure that your #FF tweets reflect that.
#Hash Tags Hash tags are an ingenious way of helping other Twitter users find what you are tweeting about. Think of it like keywording or tagging a blog post and you'll be on the right track. Here's an example:
“Elegant Men's #Rose Print neckties by __________________” Q: What market is this tweet trying to attract? A: Anyone who is into roses: growing roses, lovers of roses, anything rose-related. Q: What else should this person have hash-tagged? A: How about #neckties? How about #men? Each of those help to further identify the target audience and they might reach someone who wouldn't have thought about rose print ties. Hash-tags such as #sheisdrivingmecrazy or #icantbelievethisishappeningtome? Those are just a waste of 140 characters from a promotional standpoint. Using simple, direct hash tags directs people to you. #DYI, #upcycle, #food, #garden. It;s okay to use more than one hash tag, especially when they are going to expand your audience. Make it easier for people to find those who are tweeting about the topic they are interested in. On the other side of the coin are hash tags that end with #___chat. They are intended for the interaction of those participating in a specific conversation on a specific topic at a specific time and they otherwise don't have a valid application in the Twitterverse. Is your information getting lost in a cacaphony of words and tags that don't get people to look at your work? Worse, is it directing them away from your work entirely? Before you tag, think of your tweet as a collection of keywords and make sure you are using them wisely.
Bruce Bailey owns Heavy Petal Nursery in Moses Lake, Washington. When he's not on Twitter (@whereplantsrock) he is introducing the public to unique and unusual plant combinations and speaking at garden and horticulture events across the country.
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