We’ve all been in the situation where we are trying to follow something on Twitter, be it a conference, athletic event or news story. Usually you can stumble upon several hashtags that are relevant to the event or the organization but have you ever wondered where they came from? In my experience it seems that users are the ones that are forced to come up with descriptive hashtags for what they’re following. The problem is that every user is different and they tend to come up with several hashtags for each event. You end up having to add all variations of the tags to get your tweet read by the whole audience, this takes up some of that precious 140 characters.
One thing that an organization should do to help lead their conversations is to make their preferred hashtags known. They can promote these through their website, blog and of course in their tweets. Companies are getting used to posting the “Follow us on Twitter” buttons on their sites but perhaps they should be also be including a short list of hashtags that they encourage their users to use when discussing them. Also, they can use the opportunity to engage with their users on Twitter by reminding them or giving them incentives to use their preferred tags. Having one or two main hashtags for a group makes following and interacting with that group much easier and enjoyable.