Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing 101: Hashtags

If you aren't using hashtags, you're not marketing as strongly as you could be. If you think they're too juvenile or just there to waste space, think again. You're a self-published author. When it comes to marketing, nothing is beneath you. 


Why You Need Hashtags

Twitter hashtags function as internal links. You can use the search bar near the top of the page to search for any hashtag phrase, any time, and see who has written tweets using that phrase. This is a great way to find people who like the same movies, books and music as you. It's also a great way to connect with your reading audience. There's really just one simple reason why you need to use hashtags: everyone else is using them. Once you start, it'll be easier for readers to find you. 

The Hashtags You Need

But there's an etiquette that comes with using hashtags. You can't write a tweet promoting your book, for instance, and then tack a random hashtag to the end of the message. Common hashtag phrases have to go with relevant content. That means you need some writing- and book-specific hashtags, so you can add them to the right tweets and increase your reach. 

On Fridays, use the hashtags #FictionFriday and #FridayReads, if you dare. Studies show that Friday is the day that Twitter's traffic is the lowest, so you might not want to put a lot of steam into marketing on this day. 

If you're a writer, you should be using hashtags like #writing and #amwriting when you're tweeting about what's happening with your books. You can also throw in #novels, #novelists or the poetry-related hashtags #poem, #poet and #poetry, depending on what you write.

I like the #ebooks hashtag when tweeting about my books, and you can always use the #kindle and #nook hashtags as well. Use the hashtag for your genre to get more subject-specific fans, like #YA, #mystery and #romance.

You should take some time, when you're Twittering, to take a look at the writing hashtags. Find out what others are talking about in the writing world, and collect marketing ideas. Of course, don't forget to follow the most important hashtag of all: the one I use. You'll find links to all my Writing 101 posts under the hashtag #writing101.

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