Twitter hashtags and slashtags are two forms of metadata that users of the social networking service can incorporate into their tweets. However, that and their rhyming names are where the similarities end. Using hashtags and slashtags correctly keeps your tweets looking professional, adding credibility to you and the business you are trying to advertise 140 characters at a time.
Hashtags were created by Twitter users but eventually were added to the functionality of the service. Hashtags appear differently from other words in a tweet. Slashtags were also created by a Twitter user, Chris Blow, but are entirely user-driven and do not change the appearance of any other words in a tweet. While you can turn any word into a hashtag, only a limited number of slashtags are in popular usage, most of which are meant to provide attribution to another source.
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To create a hashtag, you add the "#" symbol before the word or phrase you want to categorize. For example, "this is my #message" is a simple tweet where "#message" is the hashtag. Another example is "#ThisIsMyTweet." You create a slashtag by preceding a phrase with one or more different conventions, each beginning with the "/" symbol. Some slashtags are self-explanatory, such as "/by," "/for," "/tip," "/thx" and "/via," while others are a little more obscure, such as "/cc" (carbon copying), "/ht" (hat tip, to thank the person who called the subject of your tweet to your attention) and "/oh" (overheard). For example, "/thx @TwitterUser" is a way to thank another Twitter user.
If you plan on using Twitter to promote your business, you should get into the habit of using hashtags and slashtags. Hashtags are used to start or continue trending topics and while it's presumptuous to think you could turn your business' name into a trending topic, it does help make it stand out as a keyword in your tweets. Using slashtags properly lets you succinctly provide credit where credit is due, especially when you're sharing news and ideas that are not your own, as well as allowing you to use fewer characters in your tweets, which are limited to 140 per tweet.
Using hashtags wisely will make your tweets more noticeable. Limit each tweet to just a few keywords, if any. Using too many could make your tweet difficult to read. When it comes to slashtags, stick to using the conventional examples rather than making up new ones on your own that others may not understand. The key to keeping your business' followers reading your tweets is to not overwhelm them while still providing information and conversing with them in a way that's easy to follow and comprehend.