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Jen Diehl is a soon-to-be graduate of Penn State University. Originally from Limerick, Pa., Jen decided to pursue her college career at Penn State for the abundance of networking and involvement opportunities. Jen studies public relations at Penn State and focuses on a minor area of study in event planning. You can tweet at Jen (@WhtsTheDiehlio) or connect with her on her LinkedIn.


Social media, Twitter especially, is used both professionally and personally by millions of people around the world. Regardless of the way it is used, Twitter relies heavily on the use of hashtags to help users direct their conversations. Here are a few tips on how to make hashtags work best for your business, client, or own personal account:

1. Topic concentration

In the Twitter world, tweets are updated constantly. Even now, I have not refreshed my feed in about five minutes and there are 30 new tweets waiting. This is where the hashtag comes into play; it narrows the conversation of all tweets which included it.

For example, you are selling a guitar and you would like to notify friends and anyone on Twitter, it would be most effective and appropriate to tweet, “#FenderGuitar for sale in #SouthPhilly. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx if interested or direct message me!” What I often find is people will attach a hashtag to a phrase or even an entire sentence, which is not effective at all. For example, “Selling my guitar! Direct message me if interested #buymyguitar #myguitarisforsale”. By pin-pointing key words in your tweet, the user is being more direct in their conversation and could attract the attention of someone else interested in Fender Guitars.

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2. Number of hashtags

While everyone has their own preference, I find that one-to-three hashtags is a reasonable and effective amount for any given tweet. It’s not overwhelming and it is typically enough to get a point across.

#People #sometimes #hashtag #like #this #on #Twitter. Is it wrong? No. Is it effective? No. It all depends on your intended message and use of this social media platform.

3. How to track hashtag usage

You can search hashtags on Twitter and follow conversations if you’re looking to engage right then and there. If you’re looking at it from a more analytical standpoint, there are numerous programs which will pull all information attached to certain hashtags such as Hashtracking and Storify.

4. Capitalization makes a difference

When you’ve grown to the point of utilizing hashtags for continuing and engaging in a conversation, capitalization makes all the difference. For example, I am involved in the EcoCAR 2 automotive engineering competition on behalf of Penn State University. We manage Penn State’s Advanced Vehicle Team social media for this endeavor and utilize the hashtag #EcoCAR2 to engage with competition organizers and other schools involved in the competition. Every time we tweet, it must be exactly #EcoCAR2- not #ecocar2 or #ECOCAR2.

My social media skills are continuing to develop, but these are a few tips that have been helpful to me and will hopefully help you as well. Follow me on Twitter @WhtstheDiehlio! And a big thanks to the Bad Rhino team for allowing me to share this blog!