The Importance of Hashtags in Rotary Organisation #RotaryFamily

#Rotary International Search Happens — Everywhere

Hashtags are an efficient method to find content related to specific topics, as well as the people talking about those topics.

Just as searches are conducted on platforms other than Google, Bing, and Yahoo, search also happens on social platforms. People search every day on Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, and other social platforms using words and hashtags with success.

When you optimize conversations, content, and updates with hashtags, they become more visible to others on social media platforms and search engines. A simple click or search for a hashtag will display those using that hashtag in conversation — instantly identifying an audience with common interests. The potential for using the hashtag is limitless and can be leveraged across platforms, or uniquely on each social platform.

#To understand why hashtags are important, you have to go back a few years.

In 2007, Twitter users began using the # sign in front of words or phrases to create groups within Twitter. Then in 2009, Twitter took a cue from their users and began hyperlinking all hashtags in tweets. Now, in 2014, all major social networks (excluding LinkedIn) hyperlink hashtags because the adoption rate has been huge!

#But what does hyperlinking have to do with the importance of hashtags?

When someone clicks on a hashtag on any of these social networks, they’ll automatically be shown all other public posts that include the same hashtag. This is incredibly valuable for a small business because it can expose your content to a wider audience, and help your business get found. If someone does a search on a social network, or Google, for a hashtag you used, your post — and potentially even your profile — can be found by someone you never would have reached without hashtags. This happens all the time. Hashtags are widely used to search for content within social networks and search engines, which means hashtags give you a great opportunity to get your information in front of potential customers without paying a dime!

#How should I use hashtags?

Use hashtags on all social networks you have a presence on, but don’t go overboard! Too many hashtags can hurt your engagement and can get you unfollowed. In fact, when you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent. You’ll start noticing funny hashtags, people using lots of hashtags, and even #FullSentencesTurnedIntoAHashtag. But if you’re using hashtags to help your business, it’s best to hashtag the keywords that are related to your business and industry.

#How do I start doing it today?

Write your social posts the way you always have, but make one or two keywords into a hashtag. You can do this by including a # in front of the word(s). If you do want to make a phrase into a hashtag (like email marketing), make sure you do not include a space, as shown in the example above. Do not put a space or symbol in your phrase or you will break the hyperlink. When I’m presenting at seminars I always remind the audience that social media is always an experiment. So if you’ve been confused by hashtags in the past, don’t be afraid to give them a try. Include one or two hashtags in your next social post and see if you get noticed. My bet is you will.

#Social Media Tips for Using Hashtags.

Hashtags can be extremely powerful when you understand how to make them work for you. You can use them on a variety of platforms, represented in this graphic by this graphic.

#Research.

Want to know what your customers are talking about, what your competitors are doing, or how the media is treating a specific topic related to your product or service? Hashtags are extremely useful in identifying the frequency and reach of topics, discussions, and tapping into audience sentiment.

#Promote an Event or Conference.

This is perhaps one of the greatest tools for event planners to pre-promote an event, promote the conference during the event and keep people connected after the event. I recently saw a thread in a LinkedIn Group discussing how hashtags expanded the conference to an audience 25x times that of actual physical attendees. The more people become engaged, the more likely they are to attend, or influence others to attend, watch live, or view after the fact.

#Who Owns a Hashtag?

If you create a hashtag, you can register it on Hashtags.org, which also provides tracking. Twubs.com also allows you to register a hashtag. Although you can’t prevent others from using the hashtag, it may be useful to claim a hashtag that could be integral to discussion around a trademark, promotional campaign, or event.

#Use It.

You want others to use it as often as possible. If you’re using a hashtag for a specific event, be sure to include it on social media profiles, or better yet, on the related website in a post. Too often hashtags pick up momentum, peaking interest of others that can’t find out what the hashtag stands for.

Once upon a time, Twitter was the only place hashtags were used. Now, hashtags appear online and offline — all intended to promote engagement.

#Hashtags Are Forever.

Everything on the Internet is forever. Hashtags are no exception.
One of the most effective tools to view the life of a hashtag through links, tweets, photos, videos and people (influencers) across the web is Topsy.com. Because Topsy allows you to search and track billions of conversations published on Twitter and the web, sorted by relevance or date, you can conduct research, performance and plan social media interactions to support your goals.

#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.

#Summary.

The hashtag more than a collection of characters — it is a tool to be used to reach new audiences, connect like-minded people, and facilitate streams of conversation.