Can Twitter Hashtags Grow Your Following?

I almost didn’t write on this topic because a couple other bloggers have and have done it well (@EmilyFRussell and @prnancarrow, for example). So what do I have to add?

Twitter_logo_blueI finally went for it because twice in as many days, writer friends have asked me what hashtags to use on Twitter to share stuff. Plus, maybe my take is a little different than Emily’s or Paula’s. Probably is, seeing as we’re, you know, different people.

Before I start listing hashtags, let’s address the question – can they grow a following (blog, twitter, or otherwise)?

Maybe.

Depends on how you work it.

Hashtags are categories. They attach your tweet to the group under that hashtag, so parties interested in that category can see your tweet. No hashtag, and only your followers can see the tweet. 

That’s important – if you have 500 followers, and you tweet with no hashtag, only those 500 can potentially see your tweet. Chances are only a small percentage will actually see it, because each of those 500 have their own list of people they follow, which could be in the thousands, and they’re all tweeting all day long. Your tweet gets buried quickly.

Use a hashtag, and everything changes. Now, anyone looking at that hashtag can see your tweet, whether they follow you or not. Usually, people who click on a hashtag will scroll for a while, so your tweet is less “buried”. If they like what you said, they’ll likely follow you.

There’s a catch, though. For the purposes of follower building, the hashtag has to be a popular one. Not necessarily trending, just popular. For writers, the most popular one is #amwriting. #writerproblems and #writetip get some mileage too, from what I’ve seen. These are for writerly-type posts, not book promos.

For bloggers, blog share days must become your new best friends. These are:

#ArchiveDay on Saturday (for “older” posts. You can decide what that means.)

#SundayBlogShare on Sunday

#WeekendBlogHop all weekend

#MondayBlogs on Monday

You can share more than one post for each of these. I’ve seen some bloggers do several. Some get annoying with the number, so maybe don’t get carried away. I usually do one or two. When you use these, also include a hashtag to categorize the post – #amwriting for writing, #parenting for a parenting post, etc. So it’ll look like this: hashtags That tweet landed in three categories – #MondayBlogs, #StarWarsDay, and #amwriting.

Blog share day participants retweet each other quite a bit. Ideally, they’ve read the post they’re retweeting, but that doesn’t always happen. Even if they don’t read your post, when they retweet you, all of their followers can see it. Chances are, a couple of those literally thousands of tweeps will take an interest in it. I get several new twitter followers on every blog share day, and I usually get at least one new blog follower during each blog sharing weekend. These hashtags absolutely have grown my following, and I’ve made new friends because of them.

Another one of my favorite hashtags is #1LineWed, hosted by @RWAKissofDeath. This is great fun for writers. The idea is you take a tweet-sized piece of your WIP (NOT from a published book) and tweet it with the hashtag. There’s a different theme for each week, like “kissing”, “scary”, “question marks”, etc. What I love about this hashtag is not only is it a blast, it lets us see bite-sized samples of each other’s writing. And guess what? We follow each other. hashtags1

#FF is a good one to support fellow tweeps. It means Friday Follow (or Follow Friday. I can’t remember which) and its sole purpose is to give shout outs to tweeps who have made your Twitter experience better. List their usernames with the hashtag, and others will likely follow them. It’s good Twitter karma.

What about hashtags for book promos?

I’m reluctant to address this point because many authors get caught in the trap of spamming their followers, thinking it will result in increased sales. I’ve heard from a few that Twitter promos make them real money.

That might be true for them, but I would guess that’s the exception, not the norm. I did more promos when my book was new. Lately I do one or two per week, and the past couple times, I’ve seen sales drop on the days I post them. Could be a coincidence. A little promo is fine – if we did none, who would know about our work? But on this point, less is more.

For promos, use hashtags that will help the right readers find your book. I use #mystery, #amreading, #kindleunlimited, and sometimes #indiebooksbeseen. Remember that promos are more effective with a graphic. And remember these likely won’t grow your following.

That said, think of hashtags as a way to connect with people. If you’re using one, chances are it’s because that’s an interest for you. People will follow  – and you’ll follow them – because of that common interest.

So those are my favorites. If you’re an active tweep, feel free to leave the ones you like in the comments.

40 thoughts on “Can Twitter Hashtags Grow Your Following?

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  3. Question – not really about hashtags – would you recommend having one of those add ons installed to your twitter account that automatically sends a DM or a tweet to every new follower or would that count as spamming as it is a general msg and not personally typed each time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t speak for everyone, but I see those as spam. I glance at my DM box periodically for the occasional real personal message that appears there. “Personalized” automated tweets aren’t much better. That said, I know of one person who has said sending automated DMs has grown her Facebook page following. But I’ve heard from countless others that they are irritating. So…no, I would not recommend that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Good Day to You Allison,

    I’m still a little puzzled about one aspect regarding Twitter Hashtags:

    Is there a way to find a list of the hashtags being used on Twitter?

    Can we sort the hashtags we find by what is “trending”?

    This would be extremely helpful for selecting the “perfect” hashtag.

    My Best to You
    Arth

    Like

    • The hashtags you use depends on your post…”trending” just tells you what’s popular on Twitter at any given moment. If you want to find out if a hashtag will be good for exposure, the best thing to do is to search for it (so type #marketing or whatever in the search box.) If it has a decent number of recent hits, it’s a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. Good Day Allison and the Rest of You,

    I have two (2) questions, being still “green” regarding Twitter:

    1. What is “RT”?
    I’m a little lost on that reference.

    2. I haven’t set up my Dashboard to tweet my posts yet. As you know Allison, I’ve been working on a post that mentions and links to “Can Twitter Really Help an Author? A Beginner’s Guide”. In regard to the hash tags I am wondering the following:

    Should I use the hash tag at the beginning of the title for the post, one of the tags, or in some other manner that I’m not considering?

    I hope to finish writing this post later today, but I won’t worry about it if you are not paying attention on Sunday. If you don’t happen to respond to this question before I’m ready to publish (it will still take some time), my plan is to use the hash tag before the title, and just see what happens.

    Thank you to everyone for your wonderful participation!

    Side Note: I was using Microsoft Edge to comment, but I use Google Chrome for WordPress. Trying to comment across the browsers (logged into WP in Chrome & commenting in Edge), my WP login didn’t take in Edge, so I re-opened this page in Chrome. Now my WP login is showing up. I’m learning something new all the time & just wanted to share this for the F.Y.I.)

    My Best to You
    Arth

    Like

    • I was napping before football starts. Gotta love Sundays. 🙂

      RT = retweet. I’ll be discussing these in the upcoming post, which I’m scheduling to publish tomorrow morning.

      It doesn’t matter where you put the hashtag. I usually put them at the end of the tweet but that’s really just a matter of preference.

      Like

      • Happy Sunday Allison!

        I will be running around to doctor appointments tomorrow, but am very much looking forward to your post.

        I have my Dashboard setup to tweet when I post. I didn’t notice any documentation about doing anything to incorporate hash tags in the help documentation at WordPress. Looks like a little “post & pray”, unless you have time to enlighten me as to what I can expect. I won’t be posting tonight.

        If this information will be included in your post tomorrow, I can wait until reading it. You have already been so helpful, and I don’t want to turn into a pest, asking too many questions.

        You are greatly appreciated!

        My Best to You
        Arth

        Liked by 1 person

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  12. Good points Allison! I found some new hashtags in your post, thank you. I like that you hinted at over rting. Lol honestly, I don’t get how anyone can rt without reading the post. I read absolutely everything I tweet. I don’t think it’s fair to the writer or to my followers if I don’t.

    Like

  13. This was a really useful post – I hadn’t heard of around half of these hashtags..!

    I’ve definitely found that I get more followers from non-promotional tweets, especially through hashtag games (which I spend – waste? – waaay too much time playing…) Although in saying this, I hardly send promotional tweets at all anymore as I’m so wary of spamming people and coming across as one of ‘those’ writers.

    It is a definite balancing act. I’m running a promotion on one of my books at the moment, so am trying to tweet about it j-u-u-st enough for people to know about it, but not so much that they want to buy a copy for the sole purpose of bludgeoning me to death with it…

    Oh, and I love the #amwriting hashtag, as it can be both funny and genuinely informative. As eclecticalli said, there can be a really good sense of community around it too.

    Like

    • I like hashtag games too. The quotes by real authors one the other day was hilarious.
      Have you pinned a promo tweet to the top of your twitter page? I’ve found some new followers RT the first thing on your page – which is about your book, if there’s a promo tweet there. Just a thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a really great suggestion. Thanks Allison!

        Much as I hate to admit it, I hadn’t actually heard of pinning a tweet until you wrote that…

        I’ve been using twitter for ages, but am very much a ‘I don’t need an instruction manual, YOU need an instruction manual!’ kind of person, so there’s still a lot I don’t know.

        Thanks again though, I’ve googled it and have now officially pinned my first tweet.

        Doncha feel proud?

        😉

        Liked by 1 person

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