I’ve been writing here a lot about hashtags lately….with good reason. The more I use them, and see the fantastic ways nonprofits use them, the more I’m convinced hashtags are must-have in the nonprofit marketer’s toolkit.
In the past few months I’ve given several webinars on how to use hashtags to promote your cause. A few tactics, techniques and tools stood out.
These are the hashtag hacks that my nonprofit attendees liked best.
1. Pair Your Tags
Twitter étiquette tells us to use just 2 hashtags per tweet (3 is pushing it). But which ones should you use? Broad tags that a lot of people use, or niche tags with highly relevant users?
Both. Pair a broad tag with a niche tag to reach unique audience segments. This works especially well if you are promoting your own tag for an event or campaign. Pair your niche tag with a more popular tag to introduce your tag to a broader audience.
On Facebook, I’ve seen very mixed signals on the effectiveness of hashtags. I would try just one and measure. On Instagram, you can go hog wild – posts with 11 or more hashtags get the most engagement.
Via @Washingtonpost: Can volunteers help kids read more proficiently? http://t.co/bFYRCesFfy #volunteerlove #literacy pic.twitter.com/XRl2fqZEWN
— First Book (@FirstBook) March 31, 2015
HINT: Use Hashtagify.me to research the popularity of any hashtag on Twitter, plus related hashtags to help you pair wisely.
2. Crash a Conference
Cheapest professional development ever! Most major conferences have at least a main hashtag, and many have hashtags for each session. Find the list of session hashtags, set up columns in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, and scan the hashtags for little bits of wisdom plus links to presentations, articles, notes, tools, photos, and more.
Thrilled to present my #15NTCIgnite at #pdxt4g! Here’s the video from #15NTC: http://t.co/1dHctvWNNZ And the slides: http://t.co/zjNHGmL3Q9 — Ivan Boothe (@rootwork) April 2, 2015
HINT: Here’s a list of nonprofit conferences.
ANOTHER HINT: Know an influencer? Do a Twitter audit on their account with Twitonomy. It’ll give you the influencers most use hashtags, as well as most popular mentions and replies.
3. Catch Up on a Chat
You may have the best of intentions on attending a Twitter chat, but let’s face it, you can’t always make it. The good news is, you don’t have to participate in the live Twitter chat to benefit from it.
Search the chat hashtag to find relevant tweets. Be sure to sort your Twitter search by People to get a concentrated list of people who use that hashtag often.
MT @fundchat: Join #fundchat 4/16 to discuss mobilizing “slacktivists” for your cause: http://t.co/17f42Y3vwD pic.twitter.com/v6ipAb3VdS
— brendankinney (@brendankinney) April 14, 2014
HINT: BOOKMARK THIS: Big List of Twitter Chats For Nonprofits (Chat Tools, Too!)
4. Get Graded on the Fly
Ritetag is a tool that will grade your hashtag choices on the fly using a color-coded system. It works on Twitter.com, Facebook, Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and SproutSocial. You can also just use the website. This tool will help you pair tags like a pro. It comes with a free trial and a number of affordable monthly plans.
5. Got Geography? Use Location Hashtags.
People love where they live, and often add tags of places in their tweets and posts. If you focus on local, use city, county, state or regional hashtags liberally. People are searching for them.
Black Walnut Syrup- the REAL THING. #blackwalnutsyrup #farmsteading #farmher #saugerties #hudsonvalley #ulstercounty
A photo posted by Karin (@gleneriefarm) on
HINT: Search Instagram hashtags and users from your desktop, and so much more, with Iconsquare.
What are you favorite hashtag hacks? Share them in the comments section.