Being a writer can be a bit of a lonely business. Or rather, it used to be before the advent of social media. Now it is super easy to connect with writers all over the world through sites like Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. Something I often talk about with writers (and also in my other life as a teacher) is just how valuable Twitter is as a resource.
Twitter is regularly referred to as the ‘water cooler’ of the social media world and this is such a great analogy. It is a brilliant place to gather share ideas about common interests, drive traffic to your blog and to learn a lot from other peoples’ suggestions and tips. I definitely wouldn’t have sold the number of books that I have without Twitter and the resources that I have come across by interacting with people on there.
One of the best ways to come across new people to follow and information or ideas out there in the Twitter-sphere that may be of interest to you is through the use of hashtags.
What on earth are hashtags?
The best description for a hashtag is to think of it as a keyword with the # symbol at the front. They can be at the beginning, middle or end of a Tweet.
Why should you use them?
There are three great reasons why you should think about using hashtags in your tweets:
- It is a way of categorising or organise tweets and it helps them to show up more easily in a search.
- People who follow that particular hashtag may come across your tweet, enjoy it and follow you. It also means that you can become part of a conversation that is centred around or connected to that keyword.
- Thirdly (and perhaps my favourite reason) is that they can be used cleverly to add humour to your Tweets. #ifyouarecleverenough
Compose first, hashtag after
The most important part of your tweets is the content of the actual tweet, not the hashtags. In fact, it is actually pretty irritating trying to read a tweet that is made up almost entirely of hashtags, particularly if it then doesn’t really make much sense. My recommendation would be that you compose your tweet, add a link (if needed) and then add one or two relevant hashtags (again, if needed). Relevance is key!
And what are some good hashtags for writers?
To get you started, possibly the best and most commonly used hashtags are #amwriting and #amreading (to refer to when you are talking about your writing or reading). For those interested in self-publishing, I recommend that you take a look at #selfpub and #indiepub.
There is also #ww for Writer Wednesday and #ff for Follow Friday (which is a great way of discovering new people to follow).
And if you write for children like me, don’t forget to check out #mglit, #kidlit and #kidlitchat as great hashtags to follow too.
So, today I’d like to know: what’s your favourite hashtag?