A client of mine, Fulcher Model & Talent Agency recently posed a question to me about how to use a hashtag (#) vs. using mentions (@) on Twitter.

Specifically their question was:

I know about hashtags and “@” mentions, but when, for example our actors book a commercial or other work and want to talk/brag about it, is it better that they say,

“I just booked a Cheerios commercial @fulcheragency”

OR

“I just booked a Cheerios commercial #fulcheragency”

Which is better and what’s the difference between the two posts?

Should we also add a hashtag like #fulcheractor or #fulchermodel or is using just the company name better?

I’m sure a lot of people are a bit confused about the most effective use of each. This blog post will serve as our first monthly “ask the expert” feature.

If you too are not sure which is best to use and when, then read on.

Each platform uses functions like the @ and hashtags a bit different. The other big thing to note is that @ references don’t work cross platform.

The @ function, in most cases is used to reply to or post to a specific user. So if you are posting on Twitter with an @ mention, for example @fulcheragency, and you have your settings set to duplicate or share posts that you make on Twitter or Facebook, the @ mention won’t work on Facebook. Why is this? Because many people have a different company or username on Facebook so it won’t properly link to them. This ends up looking a bit strange. I recommend to not republish posts across platforms if at all possible. Write these functions on each individual platform.

In the case of the question above, my response is based on Twitter.

If someone writes:

“I just booked a Cheerios commercial @fulcheragency”, what they are doing is providing a way to give a reference to the company PLUS a notification will be sent to your account. Also, if you have email notifications enabled, when a user @ mentions you, you get an email.

The use of the @ mention by others is good as you can reply to them with another message such as “@lowell thanks”. This is a way you can start to engage with others in what many refer to as mini conversations. These conversations are between one or more people but on Twitter remember that unless it’s a direct message (DM), it’s public. The other reason @ mentions are good is that people who follow this actor can then find YOU and check you out. This can lead to more followers.

The use of hashtags is a bit different. #fulcheragency would be a bit less effective in this case as a hashtag is commonly used to reference a post with a “topic” or “theme” of a conversation. An example is #ActingAudition, #Actor, #SuperExcited #Toronto. On Twitter by clicking a specific #, users can see others who have used that same hashtag in their posts. It is a way people can find new companies or people to follow, however it’s not as easy for other people to then comment to you directly. Also, you don’t get a notification like you would with an @ mention. You’d have to regularly follow that # for all posts in a feed format.

So in the case of Fulcher, my recommendation was to use each but in a different way. Getting actors to use the @ mention with their name will help build brand awareness and can lead to attracting more followers. But I did recommend they also search for #’s that apply to their business such as #actor, #acting, #auditing etc. so they can try to see conversations that they can jump into. This will also lead to building more engagement with users and attracting followers.

I hope this blog post has been helpful to how you can make effective use of hashtags and @ mentions on the different social media platforms.

If you have a question you’d like to ask, please share it in the comments below. We’d be happy to answer your question(s) and may use your question(s) in a future post.