Tag Archives: Twitter

#Hashtag or @mention?

Someone told me I should call my blog ‘The Alexis Bailey Daily’ but that would mean having to post every day and I don’t think I can manage that. But I do need to post more than once every four months, so I’ve decided if I’m busy I’ll just keep it simple.

I train people on using social media and this is a question I get asked repeatedly:

What’s the difference between a hashtag and an @mention?

Well they’re both tags but they serve different purposes.

A hashtag is a way of categorising your post. When you add the # symbol in front of a word it becomes a link that people can click on to find other posts with the same hashtag. You might hashtag one or two key words in your post. Those words can be part of a sentence, or just added to the end of the post. For example:

Looking forward to having #ItalianFood at my favourite restaurant in #Woolwich tonight #FoodGloriousFood

A hashtag can be more than one word, but it mustn’t include spaces or symbols (numbers are fine). Anyone who sees this tweet and wants to find more tweets about Woolwich or Italian food can click on the hashtags. If someone searches for either of those hashtags on Twitter, the tweet will come up in the results.

You might want a unique hashtag for a campaign or event. Something that no one else has used before so that tweets using that hashtag are only relevant to your campaign/event.

You can use hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as Twitter.

An @mention is a way of drawing someone’s attention to your tweet, or crediting someone. If you use an @mention you’re adding an account’s username to your tweet and the account you’ve mentioned will get a notification about your tweet. People will also be able to click on the @mention to see that account’s profile. For example, I could add an @mention to my tweet above:

Looking forward to having #ItalianFood at my favourite restaurant @ConGustoTweets in #Woolwich tonight #FoodGloriousFood

When you’re choosing a username, bear in mind how it will look as part of an @mention. For example, if I were to tweet:

Who’s up for coming to @ConGustoTweets in #Woolwich tonight?

Would people who hadn’t heard of Con Gusto restaurant know what I was talking about? I would need to add context with hashtags:

Who’s up for coming to @ConGustoTweets in #Woolwich tonight? #food #restaurant #hungry

You can tag accounts in a similar way on Facebook. You start by typing @ followed by the person’s name or the page username. You can then choose the account you want to tag from the drop-down list that appears.

A final note on hashtags: If you’re joining two words together it’s a good idea to use capital letters for each word. This not only makes it easier to read, it also means screen-reading software can read the hashtag.


50 first tweets

When I joined Twitter a few years ago it was because it was the latest trendy thing on social media so I thought I should give it a go, not because I had a clear idea of what I would use it for. At first I tweeted about any old thing just to get the hang of how it works. After a while I decided that, for me, Twitter’s most useful for sharing and reading social media tips and the highlights from events, and drawing attention to the things I work on, particularly high street regeneration and markets. It’s also great for hearing from other people who work on similar things.

If you’re new to Twitter you might still be figuring out how to make the best use of it. In the meantime, if you just want to get some tweeting practice and become more familiar with how Twitter works, here are 50 ideas for things you can tweet about:

  1. Details of an event you’re going to
  2. The highlights of an event you’ve been to
  3. What’s happening live while you’re at an event
  4. A link to an interesting article you’ve read
  5. A comment about a blog you’ve read
  6. A link to an interesting forum discussion
  7. A quote that’s inspired you
  8. Some useful advice you’ve heard
  9. Your top tips
  10. Interesting facts
  11. Little-known stats
  12. Facts or stats relevant to the area where you live
  13. What you thought of a film or show
  14. Details of an exhibition you’ve seen
  15. A venue you liked (or didn’t like)
  16. A great restaurant or café you’ve discovered
  17. A special offer you’ve seen
  18. A photo of something interesting you’ve seen
  19. A Vine video
  20. Ask a question
  21. Answer a question
  22. Comment on a sporting event
  23. Ask for a recommendation
  24. Say what you think of a place you’ve visited
  25. Let people know about traffic problems
  26. Warn people about public transport delays
  27. Encourage people to support a cause
  28. Highlight an important issue
  29. Link to a petition
  30. Give you’re opinion on a current issue
  31. Introduce yourself to someone you’d like to meet
  32. Congratulate someone
  33. Wish someone luck/happy birthday/bon voyage etc
  34. Thank someone
  35. Follow up a meeting with a tweet
  36. Thank a company for good customer service
  37. Moan about bad customer service
  38. Ask someone for a live update
  39. Big up someone who deserves it
  40. Share a useful tool
  41. Talk about a project you’re working on
  42. Get feedback on something you’re working on
  43. Take part in a Q&A
  44. Share a joke
  45. Recommend a training course
  46. Share the results of a poll
  47. Share some trivia or quiz questions
  48. Share your achievements
  49. Tell people what music you’re listening to and why you like it
  50. Retweet other people

7 social media tips for beginners

I’ve been working with social media for seven years now so I thought I’d share my top seven tips. If you’re just starting out you might find these useful. I don’t consider myself to be an expert – there’s still so much to learn and there are always new channels and technologies popping up – but here are seven things I wish I’d known before I started:

  1. Sometimes on social media grammar and punctuation go out of the window, but the full stop has an important role on Twitter. If you start a tweet with a username, Twitter thinks it’s a reply and it won’t go to your followers’ timelines. Stick a discreet full stop in front of the username, and all your followers can see the tweet.
  2. Don’t let the trolls get you down. If you’re managing a corporate account (especially if it’s a government one) you’re bound to attract abuse. At first it upset me, then I became immune to it, now I sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoy the entertainment. Don’t reply to abusive comments. People will soon see that if they phrase their question/comment politely they’ll get a response; if they’re rude and sweary they won’t.
  3. Posts with images and video get a better response. You’re competing with a lot of other content so yours needs to stand out.
  4. If you’re posting a link, for example on Facebook or LinkedIn, once the preview loads you can delete your link from the text – and the preview stays. This looks much tidier than including a long link in your text.
  5. Start with your objective not your channel. For example, people come to me and say ‘I want to talk to people about X and I want to set up a Facebook page’. It turns out there are several high-profile blogs about X. That’s where their content should go. They might feel comfortable with Facebook because they use it outside work, but it may not be the best place for what they’re trying to do. Bloggers are always looking for good content and may be willing to let you write a guest post.
  6. Experiment. When it comes to digital and social media no one has all the answers. You have to keep trying different things and be prepared to fail. You might post something you think is exciting and will get a great response, only to find no one cares. You might post something you think is a bit dry and suddenly everyone’s talking about it. It’s hard to predict what content will do well and what will flop. Keep evaluating everything you do until you understand what your audiences like.
  7. Chose your username carefully – you can’t always change it. And when you’re coming up with a name for a campaign, keep it snappy, and make sure it can be easily turned into a hashtag.

Why my local high street is growing on me

I don’t like my high street very much. If I’m not dodging chuggers and pigeons, I’m choking on clouds of cigarette smoke and gagging from the smell of the public toilets. Don’t get me wrong, shopping is one of my favourite activities, I just prefer to do it in a nice, clean, pigeon-free, chugger-free, smoke-free mall.

I felt like a fraud when I was asked to work on the High Street Renewal Awards, but I lead on digital communications for local economic growth so I had no choice but to start tweeting about supporting local businesses.

It was only when I started visiting the High Street Renewal Award winners that I began to buy in to what I was tweeting. Seven teams in different towns around the country are using government funding to help improve their town centres. Many of them are volunteers with full-time jobs who are giving up their spare time to help because they care so much about their communities. They won funding to put towards their regeneration projects because they came up with the most innovative ideas.

My original brief was to visit the winning teams, find out what they’re doing and share it on social media so that towns that didn’t receive any funding can learn from those that did. I decided to use Pinterest to showcase the different projects as it’s a nice way of including images, video and links to local websites on a map.

I was hoping to be able to share some low-cost ideas but I’ve found that most of the projects require a huge amount of planning, collaboration and funding from multiple sources. I’ve had to rethink my objective and have decided to try and get towns talking to each other online so that they can share experiences and learn from each other.

I still can’t resist the lure of a shiny shopping mall, but I’ve started giving local shopping a go too now that I can appreciate how hard people are working to keep small businesses going.

Image: Billy Alexander