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How To Start A Twitter Hashtag

oops. forgot the hashtag. leno sucks.  # by robzand, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  robzand 

In July 2012, an intermittent Twitter user was catapulted to fame after using a hashtag that sparked a wave of hysteria worlwide.

Steven Marx had only around 20 followers at the time and hardly even updated his Twitter home page at all. However, when he felt so disappointed about NBC Television’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London, he aired it out with a tweet that included the hashtag #NBCFail. In a span of three days, the network for the #NBCFail hashtag soared to over 20,000 tweets, making Marx an instant online celebrity.

He did not deliberately use the #NBCFail hashtag to be popular. But his action is proof that you can bring a certain event (or brand) to indefinite fame if you had started the trend.

Read more about why hashtags are used.

Choosing A Hashtag

First, read the basic guidelines on making hashtags.

When you’ve decided on a hashtag name or topic, search using your chosen hashtag to see if it has already been used.

Type the hashtag into the Search box in the upper right hand corner of the page. A window showing the analytics and definition for the hashtag will appear on the same page.

If there is no definition, that’s a good sign. The analytics will then tell you how the word is being used. If you don’t see a lot of traffic into the hashtag, you may be able to use it without conflict. Be sure to  define it HERE. This will more or less set the general parameters of your hashtag’s usage.

If the hashtag has been used, you have to decide if you think you’ll get more use out of it. You can try to ‘take control’ of the hashtag and promote it yourself. However, if you think it would confuse users to push forward with using it, you may choose to append a year or another word to make it unique (like EventCon12).

Start using your hashtag on your posts.

The Hashtag That Works

For a hashtag to be successful, it has to have the following elements:

– Catchy
– Short and concise
– Clear
– Relatable

#NBCFail worked because it contained so much sentiment in just seven characters and attracted empathy from so many disappointed Olympics viewers around the world. For other users to want to apply your hashtag for their tweets, they have to be able to relate to it, or at least see value in its use.

For example, #Obama will likely have a greater usage count than #president because it is unambiguous and speaks to a more targeted group of users.

When you have finally set up your hashtag on Twitter and see other users adopting it, you can check who has used it in their conversations by typing in the hashtag name on the search box and a thread showing all discussions on it will appear.


Profile photo of CapeCodBeaches
CapeCodBeaches 10-01-2013, 06:09

Awesome post. I tried it and apparently I need votes! Vote for the definition of Hashtag #capecodbeaches on Twitter!

Profile photo of JogjaFile
JogjaFile 13-03-2013, 03:54

I am still confused in making a hashtag, anyone can help me?

Tom 13-03-2013, 09:27
Profile photo of gerrypasha
gerrypasha 24-05-2013, 17:59

how to edit definition of hastag, just created one and submitted definition, what I typed is not what it is showing, it is showing info on some business

Profile photo of RyGuyOttawa
RyGuyOttawa 20-09-2014, 00:10

I can’t get a hashtag going for my thought-provoking video clip community site RyGuyOttawa (FB and YT). I’ve seen people complain about this but the responses are weak at best. I used your site to try to stake a claim on #RyGuyOttawa but it doesn’t come up when I search Twitter. Pls Advise. Thnx

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