Hashtags Vs. Handles: B2B Twitter Etiquette

While LinkedIn is the acknowledged Big Kahuna of social media for business, did you know that B2B Twitter has gained significant influence in the B2B world and ranks higher in B2B social mentions than Facebook or even news sites, blogs, or forums?

Chances are that if you aren’t a digital native, then getting started on Twitter can be a little intimidating.  What’s the difference between a handle and a hashtag? How do I figure out the right hashtags to use?  Is it ok to DM or not? When do I retweet versus like?  We are going to lay it out for you so you’ll be a Tweeting superstar in no time.


Your handle is your Twitter name, preceded by an @ sign.  If you use a handle at the beginning of the line, you are Tweeting directly to that person.

@KathleenGlass, good to see you last night.

Versus a public message that anyone can see but acknowledges and includes people.

Good seeing you at @CyberHiveSD #SDSW @KathleenGlass!

If there is a space or period before the @ sign, then their followers will see it as well.

.@KathleenGlass, good seeing you at #SDSW!

Anyone can see that message.

Tweeting at them is different than DM’ing or Direct Messaging.  You must mutually follow each other to DM them and then that’s a private conversation.


Hashtags are letters, numbers, words, or groups of words (with no spaces between) preceded by the # sign, for example #SocialSelling. This turns them into searchable terms that people use to share an interest or topic.

Anyone can create and use a hashtag.  When an idea catches on, or a topic becomes popular, you’ll find lots of people using it and following it. For some quick insight into the popularity and use of particular hashtags look it up on Topsy. If you want to create your own hashtag, such as for an event, it’s helpful to check and make sure it’s not being used already.

Typically you will want to use 1 or 2 for Twitter, but not more than 3 hashtags in a tweet, grouped together at the end, or just 1 in the body of the tweet. Too many hashtags make your message hard to read and are considered to be spam by many readers.

Retweets and Favorites

Twitter just added the ability to add 116 characters worth of Comment when you Retweet. Retweet is fast and easy, but retweeting with a comment is not only polite, but gives you the opportunity to add value to the conversation, and explain why you were interested. Hint, add a hashtag if the original tweet didn’t have one.

People usually favorite a tweet for one of two reasons: to bookmark it to use or read later, or to show other people (called your tweeps) that you are supporting them. As a whole, if you want to show people support, retweeting and/or commenting are better.

Now get out there and start joining the conversation.  You’ll be making new friends in no time.

Sellwith.Social is brought to you by Oinkodomeo. We are passionate about bringing together the best of sales and marketing for a new focus on the buyer. We offer strategy and support for Social Selling initiatives including blog development, content marketing, CRM and sales enablement tool integration, as well as inhouse workshops and team training for inside sales and account executives on how to leverage Social Selling in the B2B sales process. For more #SocialSelling tips, follow our blog or engage with us on Twitter @SellWithSocial.