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From a PT: How to use Hashtags on Social Media

Hashtags are an amazing tool to find topics you’re passionate about through social media channels.  Who knew that the old ‘pound sign’ would become so powerful?  Hashtags aren’t just about gaining attention or followers, but rather, they help to search and sort tweets that you may be interested in. They also allow you to follow and learn from conferences or events you are unable to attend. 

The hashtag makes it easier to share and find great information. So how does one choose a hashtag?  Here is a real life example:

Just last week, my clinic hosted a course with Jerry Durham and Jeff Moore titled ‘Low Back Pain – The Patient Experience from Start to Finish.’  In the past, we have been using hashtags for our courses using the last name of the instructor. For example #EntropyLehman.  This was our first course with 2 instructors, so we had to brainstorm new hashtag techniques.  We settled on #EntropyBizLBP as the hashtag for the course, and the cool thing is, you can now search it and get all the tweets from the participants from the entire weekend.  Not only does it provide a single source for information from the weekend, it provides an opportunity for people who did not attend, or who didn’t even know the course was going on, to jump into the conversation long after the course is over.

There’s no denying that hashtags are now a part of our popular culture (Thanks, Jimmy and Justin), but how do you pick one that will be helpful, and help you achieve your goal?

  1. Keep it short.
    • Hashtags count in your 140 characters on Twitter… If you pick a long hashtag, there will be less room for the actual tweet!
  2. Keep it unique.
    • You will want to see if the hashtag you’re using has already been associated with another event or topic.
  3. Keep it simple.
    • If you’re encouraging tweeting at your event, you want to make sure that the people tweeting aren’t spending all of their time trying to get the hashtag right. This means keep it short (see point 1), but also simple.  Don’t make people switch between keyboards on mobile devices!
  4. Make it memorable.
    • Have you heard of the #pelvicmafia? Most Physical Therapists on Twitter have…  It’s a memorable hashtag that not only catches the attention of Pelvic Physios all over the world (great when you’re looking for referrals, references, or clinical advice!), but also gives notice that the topic may be a bit awkward for work (if you’re not a Pelvic Physio!).
  5. Make it meaningful.
    • Sometimes, your hashtag can encompass an entire movement. A great example of this is #GetPT1st.  It’s short, it’s sweet, and it is a great way to get the message out about how wonderful physical therapy is!
  6. Let people know!
    • Once you’ve settled on a hashtag for your event, movement, or discussion – let the world know! Tweet out the hashtag you’ve chosen, and let people know about why they should follow it.  Start to use it, encourage people to follow it.  Then start the conversation and see what happens!Looking for more information on social media? Check out our webinar recording all about growing your business with social media. Download it here.

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