Using hashtags on social networks like Twitter can not only help users discover information and identify the key actors around a subject area, but can also help get your content in front of the right audience.
Not all hashtags are created equal, however, and using one that is less relevant can mean missing out on potential exposure.
Hashtag analytics website RiteTag provides helpful statistics and context to help users pick the correct hashtags.
It allows users to search for specific hashtags, or pull in information from any Twitter account and analyse the hashtags in use there.
It colour codes hashtags as follows: green is a great choice, blue is not too bad either, but red means the hashtag is overused and could be buried very fast under other messages.
A gray label means that no one is using it much at the moment.
You can search for any hashtag and have a look at the statistics. RiteTag gives you information about the number of unique tweets, retweets and potential views per hour for each hashtag and also shows users the percentage of tweets that contain images, links or mentions.
Running a full analysis on a hashtag, #technologyfacts for example, also reveals more information about when the hashtag is used and what types of messages appear.
By scrolling to the bottom of the page, users can find tweets that are using the hashtag. This is useful because users can then also find related hashtags that might be more relevant for their subject.
In this case, #technology is marked as a much better choice. By clicking on the hashtag, and the question mark, users also get more context around the hashtag, including information about the influencers, the people who use it often.
Having access to influencers for specific hashtags can help find sources who know more about a certain topic. It could also help finding someone who is at the scene of an event and tweeting from there.
Another thing users can do in RiteTag is to check the analytics for some tweets they might be thinking of publishing, and see if they are using the best hashtags for the subject.
By clicking on ‘share’, and then ‘bulk tweets’, users can paste the tweets in a content box and get detailed information about the hashtags they have been using.
These tweets will not be published to any Twitter account, but there is an option to edit and schedule Tweets in RiteTag after they have been checked.
For the purpose of this demonstration, the four news headlines below were chosen as an example, and hashtags were added to see which ones would work better.
Study creates #timetravel illusion #technology #science
#GCSE grades rise, but sharp fall in English #education
UK's 'most #generous town' revealed by #JustGiving #charity
This hilarious, heartbreaking #IceBucketChallenge is a reminder of what the craze is all about #video
RiteTag considers one line of text to be one Tweet, and users can run though up to 100 lines in one search.
By clicking the import button, Tweets are submitted for an ‘audit’.
In this case, all were quite good hashtags to use at the time. The only tweet that had not received a green light was the third. Users can then edit and add more relevant hashtags, as well as schedule the post to be published on their Twitter accounts.
Free daily newsletter
- Inside Velocity: Mashable's predictive social analytics tool
- 'We must consider the web a patch' – Q&A with Ramaa Sharma
- 15 online communities for journalists you should know about
- Tip: Learn how readers can help you write social headlines
- 6 lessons in social storytelling from 6 months of reported.ly