Twitter has grown very quickly and it seems like people are talking about it everywhere. Twitter is up to about 6 million registered users. With all of these new users there is that moment – they sign up because they want to know what the fuss is about, they add a few friends, maybe follow CNN and a few other big names and it hits them: This is IT? What am I supposed to do with this?
The value is confusing as a new Twitter user. There are two tools that go hand in hand: Twitter Search and the use of #hashtags to monitor conversations.
Twitter Search is like Google Search but it only searches Twitter conversations. You can see what people are saying about the terms you enter up to the second! It is pretty wild and can be quite addicting.
Try searching some of these things:
- Things that interest you – hobbies, activities
- The city you live in, work in, grew up in
- Your company name (this can be scary to some people – people could be talking about your company right now!)
- Your products and services
- Your name, your twitter name, maybe a misspelled version of your name or twitter name (for example: for us our Twitter name is @Hall_Web but I have found people trying to contact us using @HallWeb so searching helps me catch that.
Twitter search is a great way to find new people and followers. A friend of mine says Twitter is like a cocktail party where you can eavesdrop on any conversation and drop in a thoughtful and funny quip whenever you want.
Using Twitter search is a great way for companies to monitor their brand reputation. Comcast has gotten a lot of props for its Twitter use for its Customer Service Department with Comcast Cares. Twitter is actively monitored for mentions of cable issues or mentions and @ComcastCares is right there with a solution or follow up question.
A hashtag is simply putting a # symbol in front of a term you want to be able to mark so you can search for it later and group it together with other people who are participating in conversation about that topic. You can make up hashtags or you can search for popular hashtags and follow along on a conversation already in progress.
As you notice on the Twitter Search page, you can see the most searched for hashtags. You can also check out sites like Hashtags.org which shows you all of the trending topics being talked about on Twitter.
Some hashtags to check out to find new followers
- #followfriday – is a weekly event (Umm on Fridays) where people recommend their favorite Twitterers with this tag
- Television shows like #Lost – real time conversation about the show
- Sports teams – #redsox die hard fans have real time conversation about the game, players and news
- Look for trending hashtags in your specific field – #fashion, #CPA, #HR etc.
Sometimes following hashtags can be hard. Many times you have no IDEA what people are saying (dang acronyms get me every time). There are sites out there to help you with that too, like Tagalus. If you see a tag and don’t know what it is you can just plug it into Tagulus and they will tell you what the heck these people are talking about.
Using Hashtags at Tradeshows and Events
For me, I think the best part about hashtags is extending the life of tradeshows, conferences and events that I attend. These in-person events are always full of information, resources and brilliant minds but you always had that short window to take it all in. Now using Twitter hashtags you can get more value before, during and after your event.
Before: You now have an easy resource to connect with people before an event. Perhaps set up a specific time to meet them in person at the event. You can tell people your schedule at an event, your booth number, what you will be offering and create that relationship before the face to face encounter. Look for the event hashtag on the event’s website, from your peers or even start it yourself if no one else has.
During: While attending an event people are having conversation online about it. Attendees are taking notes from sessions and meetings and tweeting them. Monitor the Twitter feed about the event you are at and see where the action is, who is where and possibly make new connections where you would not have otherwise bumped into in someone.
After: So you pack up and head back to the office with your notes and it is over? No way! Continue to use that hashtag to keep the conversation going. Alert your followers when you post a blog about the event or photos of the event. Contact people you may have missed meeting in person. Set up interviews or follow up conversations with presenters or speakers at the event who are using the hashtags. Ask experts questions. Extend the life of the event by keeping the conversation going after everyone has gone home.
Using Hashtags at Sage Insights
The official Twitter tag for Sage Insights is #insights09. Sage partners and members have been using the tag to promote meetings, opportunities to connect, and sessions. During the event we will be Tweeting every day with what is hot at Insights this year, what people are telling us they have learned this year, notes from sessions and much more. You can follow us at @Hall_Web and feel free to ask us questions whether you are at the show or not and we will seek out the answers for you.
If you are at Insights send us a tweet and we will meet up!