Hashtags. They are all over the Internet. You can find hashtags on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Periscope, to name a few social media sites touting these # signs.

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Hashtags are linguistic shortcuts used on social network and microblogging services which make it easier for users to find conversations and information based on a specific theme or content. They also allow users to create a conversation thread around a specific theme or topic.

Adding hashtags to social media posts is one way to broaden your audience. Avid social media users follow hashtags on topics that they are interested in to see more posts on that subject and be part of the conversation. Hence, users will stumble across your content via the hashtags you use.

A few authors are using the hashtag trend to gain even more exposure for their books. These authors are assigning their books a hashtag title.

The first book I saw containing a hashtag title was at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) this summer. The book was titled #struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World. It was written by Craig Groeschel and published by Zondervan. It is officially releasing next month.

Shortly after the convention, #CompletelySingle: Learning How to Become the Right One Before Meeting the Right One by Damien K.H. Nash crossed my desk. This book was published by a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

I think using a hashtag for a book title is an interesting idea. It is one way to increase exposure for a book, especially if the author chooses a hashtag that is fairly popular and widely used. It will be interesting to watch to see if this #hashtag title becomes a trend.

In the meantime, make sure that you are using effective hashtags with your social media posts. If you are not sure which hashtags you should use, you can find popular and trending hashtags on Hastagify and #Hashtags.org.

Related Posts:
Do You Use Hashtags?
The Importance of Following Trends
Trends in Book Discovery

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Do You Use Hashtags?

A friend of mine owns an art gallery. She often seeks my input on marketing ideas. Over the past year, I have encouraged her to use social media to connect with her customers and expose herself to potential new customers.

Being in the 50+ age category, my friend has been slow to embrace the use of social media. She often wonders whether it is just a waste of her time.

I recently taught my friend the importance of using hashtags on Twitter. For those of you that don’t yet know what a hashtag is, the official definition from Twitter states: “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Twitter users place hashtags in their tweets to maximize exposure for the tweet. The hashtag symbol (#) is placed before relevant keywords. This allows the tweet to be categorized to show more easily in a Twitter search. It also allows the tweet to be made available to those people who follow trending conversations on Twitter by watching the tweets with a specific hashtag.

Many Twitter users follow hashtag specific conversations. For example, as a publisher, you might want to watch what is being said on the #publishing trend. Two websites that allow Twitter users to track twitter conversations by hashtag in real-time are Monitter and Twitterfall. Twitter users can also find out which hashtags are getting the most attention at Hashtags.org. This website provides a handy hour-by-hour graph on any hashtag usage.

The other day my gallery-owner friend called me all excited. She reported that a gentleman had contacted her studio to purchase a painting. When she asked him where he had found out about the painting and her gallery, the man replied that he had seen it on the #fineart hashtag on Twitter. My friend now had proof positive that effectively using social media can actually bring her new clients.

If you have not yet incorporated hashtags into your Twitter strategy, I recommend that you start today.