Twitter Hashtags Made Easy

Ever wonder what that weird pound sign you see in tweets is all about? It's called a hashtag, and it often perplexes Twitter newbies since it can be used in so many different ways.

When a hashtag is used in a tweet, that word or phrase becomes clickable. Clicking on it takes you to all of the other recent tweets using the same hashtag, so it's an easy way to see what other people are saying about the same thing.

You can put a hashtag at the end of your post, or if you can work it in naturally, it can be used mid-sentence.

Here are a few ways you can use hashtags:

1. Topical

If you want your tweets to be seen by others in your industry, use a popular hashtag about the topic in your tweet. Some industry hashtags, such as #realestate and #realtor, are somewhat intuitive. You can also use location-specific hashtags, such as a city name or neighborhood, if you're talking about a certain area, which is a no-brainer for people in real estate.

If you're not sure what to use, check and see what major influencers in real estate use. You can also try searching a few terms in Twitter's search box to see what's popular.

2. Events

It's now common for conferences, seminars, and other events to have an official hashtag. It's usually on signage or promoted by the organizer. Anytime you post a tweet about the event, use that hashtag.

What's the point? If you're at a real estate event and using the same hashtag as other participants, you can see insights from other agents and start an online conversation that could result in offline networking.

You can still benefit and participate even if you aren't at the event. Say you really want to attend the Realtor Expo, but can't make it. If you saw that #realtorexpo was the hashtag for the event, you could follow the conversation from afar and learn interesting tidbits from those present.

Many people in real estate also have Twitter chats regularly scheduled. All participants use the same hashtag in their tweets in order to follow and participate in a live conversation. You may want to use a social media tool like Hootsuite, which makes it easier to track tweets with specific hashtags.

3. Humor or Irony

This more complex use of hashtags is a little harder to understand at first. In this method, people use hashtags in their own way to be funny or make humorous commentary. For example, a realtor who has had a long day may post something like this: "Today I had three showings, two open houses, and one flat tire. #thelifeofarealtor"

There are a few other ways Twitter hashtags can be used, but these three strategies are the most useful for real estate agents.