This week we’re talking about an element of social media that has taken over multiple platforms: hashtags.
A hashtag is simply the pound sign (#) followed by a word or series of words without spaces between them.
You’ve probably seen them before. Your friends have probably posted a photo of their food on Facebook with captions like: “Mmmm! #yum #thisfoodissogood #coffee #blessed.”
Sometimes hashtags are used as a joke, but believe it or not, they can be utilized as a powerful marketing tool. And the best part is . . . they’re free!
Using #hashtags to describe your picture.
#COGMIP2015 is the official hashtag of MIP Commissioning and Celebration 2015!
You see, hashtags are used to identify social media posts that are all about the same topic. For instance, our office is currently using the hashtag #COGMIP2015 to get the word out about MIP Commissioning coming up in May. Anytime someone posts to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram about the Commissioning, they can use our hashtag.
All of the social media posts using a particular hashtag will populate to one hashtag board, which you can access simply by clicking on the hashtag. Once someone uses our #COGMIP2014 hashtag, we can click on the hashtag board and see their post.
This works across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also use TagBoard.com to see where all your hashtags are throughout the Internet. You can see our #COGMIP2015 Tagboard.
So, how can you use hashtags for your ministry?
1. Create hashtags for events and encourage attendees to use the hashtag with their social media posts. For example, if you have a Christmas production coming up, you can use a combination of your church name and the production name as a hashtag. Say we are talking about North Cleveland Church of God’s upcoming production, “The Christmas Miracle,” you could use #NCChristmasMiracle.
2. Create hashtags for your various ministries. This could be as simple as using the group name for a hashtag. For example, if your youth group is called Fuel, you could encourage the members to use #FuelMinistries anytime they post about the youth group on social media.
3. Hashtag relevant topics to your ministry. Like I said before, all hashtags populate to one place, which means that if there is a church using the hashtag #PrayerService in Idaho, and you use the same hashtag at your church, you will both be able to see each other’s posts when you click on the hashtag. This is another great way to use social media to connect with people. Try to think of words and phrases that other people could also use about ministry, and use them as hashtags for your posts. Then, click on the hashtag and take a few minutes to scroll through other posts using it. You are welcome to “like” someone else’s post or even leave a comment. You never know when a new friendship could develop!
Make sure your hashtags are straightforward and obvious enough so that people will know it’s about your ministry. Keep it within four words or less because longer hashtags become harder to read or remember.
Now that you’re educated, start hashtagging! As always, please send comments and questions to email@example.com. We appreciate your readership and support for this series.