In an earlier post, I shared my thoughts about using hashtags on Twitter. Rather than completely dismiss their relevance and effectiveness based on my own personal preferences and preconceived notions, I embarked on a little experiment to find out if they appear to make any difference at all in attracting Twitter followers.
For 4 weeks, I proactively used hashtags in all of my tweets (Before the experiment, I only included them when retweeting people who used them in their original tweets).
For the two months prior to starting the experiment, my net new twitter followers rang in at 52 and 51 (5.80% and 6.28% of my total followers at the time) in those two 4-week periods.
After my 4 weeks of proactively using hashtags, I gained 61 net new Twitter followers (6.38% of my total followers).
Although I admit that my experiment was hardly scientific and possibly could have benefitted from some additional time, I have to conclude that hashtags don’t significantly impact the growth of your Twitter network.
I should note, however, that although the overall number of new followers may not be affected, it’s possible that engagement is. Twitter users who search for conversations based on hashtags might prove to be more relevant followers who will interact more readily and frequently with your tweets. But I’ll let you run and report on that particular experiment!
For now, I’m back to using hashtags only in retweets when they appear in the tweet before me – and sometimes not even then. With Twitter’s 140-character constraints, every space is prime real estate, you know!
What’s your take on hashtags? Have you found increased following or engagement when using them?