I 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)?
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: 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 @. 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.
#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.