By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, and a regular contributor to this blog
Have you noticed that everywhere you look these days people are using this symbol #?
To the social media novice, hashtags might seem confusing, annoying, or even pointless at first. But if you understand their purpose and learn how to use them properly, hashtags can be a powerful way to help you engage with new members and the community and increase Rotary awareness.
Hashtags are a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#) used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest. Basically it’s a way for social media users like you to tag your posts, which in turn makes them easier for social networks to organise and users to search. But we all know that, right?
I bet you’re asking how you can use them for #Rotary promotion?
Well one way is to join the #MyRotaryMoment campaign that was started by the Rotary Club of Melbourne Park. The campaign asks you to share your own Rotary story on your personal social media account and use the hashtag #MyRotaryMoment within the post.
Another example is how we are using #ricon15 to amplify the message and generate enthusiasm about the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo in 2015. In a similar manner, hashtags #EndPolio and #WorldPolioDay were used to build excitement about polio eradication on World Polio Day, 24 October.
Using one or two hashtags per post makes your posts visible to anyone who shares your interest, be it #Community or even a #CharityBBQ. Whatever hashtag you like to use, it’s incredibly important for you and your club to start that conversation.
Here are some great #tips on how you can better use #hashtags.
- Don’t string too many words together with a single hashtag;
- Include a hashtag in a Tweet or Facebook post on a public account and anyone who does a search for that hashtag can find your tweet or post;
- Don’t #spam #with #hashtags – don’t over-tag a single tweet;
- Use hashtags only on tweets or posts relevant to the topic;
- Be creative and make your own #hashtag: #RotaryVolunteer or #RotaryClubFundrasier for example.
Some of the most common #hashtags I use when I post about #RotaryInternational are: #Activism, #Causes, #Fundraising, #SocialGood, #Volunteer, #Volunteerism, #Community, #RotaryAwareness. The tags #WeAreRotary and #ProudRotarian are also very popular when posting about Rotary.
But this all brings us back to the most important question: are hashtags here to stay? Seeing as how they’ve been integrated into most of the popular social media networks, and with social media entering almost every facet of our lives, I’d say the answer is a resounding yes!