With 400 million tweets being sent every day in 2012, Twitter and its “hashtag” system are becoming more important to law firm marketers all the time. Among the tools in your Twitter marketing arsenal should be at least one good Twitter hashtag directory. Learning to use a hashtag directory can be a little tricky at first, especially if you haven't used many hashtags yet, but with a little guidance you'll get the hang of it quickly. This guide starts with the very basics of how a Twitter hashtag directory works, then looks at how law firm marketing professionals can make use of several online hashtag directory resources.
How a Twitter Hashtag Directory Works
On Twitter, anyone with an account can create whatever hashtag they want. This amounts to millions of different hashtags being used in any given day, and can make it very hard to identify what hashtags you want to use. Using a Twitter hashtag directory can help you to narrow down your choices for hashtags so that you're only using tags that will be effective and relatively popular.
Most of the time, a hashtag directory won't be compiled by one person. Considering the number of new hashtags developed every day, it would be impossible for one person to create all the new entries in a Twitter hashtag directory. Instead, a hashtag directory will usually depend on submissions from users.
Types of Twitter Hashtag Directory
Because there are different things that you might want to know about your hashtag, different hashtag directory systems have been developed on different websites. One of the most basic of these websites is Hashtags.org, which is a Twitter hashtag directory providing users with basic information on the popularity of any hashtags of their choice.
By using Hashtags.org, you can check up on a graph of a hashtag's long and short term popularity. But what if popularity isn't what you're looking for? You may know that you've seen a particular hashtag a lot lately—let's say you've seen five different people you follow use #yolo—but you don't know what it means. Before deciding to use it on your own Twitter feed, you should definitely check up with another Twitter hashtag directory, TagDef.
Tagdef is a hashtag directory that keeps a listing of as many hashtags as have been submitted by users, and the definitions of those hashtags. By using this Twitter hashtag directory, you look up the hashtag #yolo and find out that it means “you only live once”—not necessarily the sentiment you want your law firm to be expressing in an official tweet. Using a hashtag directory for definitions can prevent unneeded embarrassment.
A third kind of Twitter hashtag directory involves geolocational cross referencing of Twitter hashtags. If you want to see what a hashtag directory shows as being the most popular tags in your area, head over to TrendsMap. This Twitter hashtag directory can display popular tags on a map, so that you can zoom in as much as you want and find out what's trending locally.
Finding the Right Twitter Hashtag Directory
If you're not happy with the results you're getting from a hashtag directory, keep in mind that there are dozens of competing websites out there. As trends on Twitter change, it's very possible that some Twitter hashtag directory tools will fall out of favor or become less useful. When you stop getting the kinds of results from a hashtag directory that you need, check some other directories out, and monitor blogs about Twitter marketing to find out what new directories have recently come on the scene. Often, the newest tools offer the most sophisticated and up to date functionality.
Using a Hashtag Directory Correctly
If you're using a Twitter hashtag directory, make sure that you're using the right one for the right purpose. You'll have much better luck getting geographic information from a hashtag directory that specializes in this information, for example.
It's also important not to use a Twitter hashtag directory of popular hashtags as a list of tags for your own Twitter feed to use. Often, these extremely popular hashtags are so popular that your post will quickly “disappear” from being visible to people watching the hashtag for new posts. If you're going to use a popular hashtag, try to do so at a time when you'll actually be seen by large numbers of people—you can often use a Twitter hashtag directory to find out when those times will be.
Beyond the Hashtag Directory: Making Your Own Tags
After you've watched Twitter hashtag directory listings for a while, you might want to try your hand at making a unique hashtag that no one else has used. If you're doing this, you should check a hashtag directory or two first just to make sure that your tag hasn't been used before. You may have to try several tag variants before finding one that will be exclusively yours.
If you're using a tag that is exclusively yours, you can then use some tracking tools to see where it spreads to and how its popularity changes. Hashtags.org is a great tracking tool to see whether your hashtag ever catches on beyond your immediate circle of followers and friends.
Submitting Your Hashtags to a Twitter Hashtag Directory
Of course, once you make your own hashtags, you should also try to submit them to any hashtag directory that you think might be useful. Some hashtag directories actually allow you to categorize hashtags so that you can put them into a useful category (for instance, law and legal issues). If you're not submitting your hashtags to a Twitter hashtag directory, it will be harder for other people to find out the definition of your hashtag and how it has been used.
Some hashtag directories do keep track of hashtags automatically. You won't need to submit a hashtag to these. However, places like TagDef only list hashtags that have been submitted by users, so you'll need to write out a tag definition and post it there if you want the definition to be easily accessible by others.