When it comes to Twitter, it can sometimes look like users are posting in another language: shortened words and acronyms, hyperlinks and hashtags make up a great deal of most tweets. While using Twitter doesn't mean that your company has to know all of the lingo by heart, it is important to understand hashtags in particular, because they really do allow you to "join the conversation."

To have a successful targeted internet marketing campaign, your business must first understand the basics of a hashtag. A hashtag is made up of two elements: a pound sign (#) and a word or phrase that has no spaces in between. A hashtag typically follows the body of a tweet, but can be included in the beginning or mid-sentence, as well.

But, more important than the format of a hashtag is what it does for your tweet. The word or phrase that you choose should relate to the topic or sentiment of your message as a whole, and by including the hashtag, your tweet will show up when others search for the same thing.

"A Twitter hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream, which you can find by searching the hastag in Twitter Search or by using a third-party monitoring tool such as HootSuite," explained HubSpot's Magdalena Georgieva in a recent blog post. "If Twitter users who are not otherwise connected talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their tweets will appear in the same stream. In that way, Twitter hashtags solve a coordination issue and facilitate a conversation. Popular hashtagged words often become trending topics – topics so many people are talking about that they are a 'trend.'"