In May Tech Soup hosted a series of Monday Twitter chats on the topic of Social Media. They provide a summary of the discussions on their forums. The discussions covered the use of Twitter, Facebook and Videos. Since I have read a fair bit on the use of these, I was most interested in their final discussion which covered the effective use of Tags.
I add a lot of tags to posts I make both here on the blog and connected to social media sites I use at work. I am just never sure if what I am tagging is actually effective. It seemed like being fairly generous with tags was good everywhere except Twitter.
“Blogs, photos, video, and bookmarks can benefit from the use of many tags when they are uploaded. Twitter, again, distinguishes itself, however, by favoring a “less is more”and approach to tagging. It is an accepted convention on Twitter that too many hashtags is unhelpful and, in fact, makes a tweet look too busy and difficult to read. Use tags to not only find content but to identify individuals or organizations who are creating or sharing useful information and, in the case of Twitter, to engage in actual real time conversations or tweetchats.
Individuals who are new to tagging might find themselves asking what tags are best to use for their content. For starters, it is worth considering what types of words might be used to describe your content. A helpful question to ask is, “who is this content intended for?” Understanding who your intended audience is and what terms they might use to seek out your content will help you narrow down on the most appropriate tags to use.
If you are just beginning to use tags, it is often helpful to explore and use tags on broad topics such as “nonprofit,” “art,” and so on, to reach out to a broad audience if you are not familiar with more specific tags for your content. As the article Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging suggests, “be a lemming” and follow what others are doing which can also help you discover more specialized, niche tags.”
I found the advice at the end regarding paying close attention to what other people are using to be particularly valuable. Even if you think you know the hot buzz words from your industry, they may not be the most effective on social media. Tech Soup links to a piece, 40 Hashtags for Social Good which notes that nonprofit is a more popular tag than nonprofits. In the chat about Twitter, Janet Fouts cautions people to research the hashtag they intend to use in case someone else’s of it results in a collision of messaging.
I found the recap of the chat about Twitter to be helpful just because it can be very difficult to get your point across in the limited number of characters and I can also use more guidance. On top of that, the advice is to be as brief as possible in order to leave room for other people to comment and interact with you. Tech Soup also suggests a number of tools that allow everyone in the organization to share the burden of monitoring and creating tweets.
Your experience may vary, of course, so read whatever might be helpful.