When it comes to using social media, many churches toss posts out into the wild, hoping people will find and interact with them. But when it comes to getting noticed on social media, nothing may be as beneficial to your church as using hashtags.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags, which are words or groups of words tagged with a pound sign (#), are “topic identifiers.” Though almost all social media services use hashtags in one way or another, services like Twitter and Instagram are largely built around hashtags—and if you don’t use them on those services, your posts may be hearing nothing but crickets.
When you log onto services like Twitter or Instagram, you may have felt a bit lost, immediately inundated with thousands of seemingly random posts that continually update. It’s a bit like looking at a stock ticker or walking into a huge auditorium filled with millions of people all talking at once. That’s where hashtags come in.
Hashtags are like signs on doors indicating what the people behind the door are talking about. People who love services like Twitter and Instagram often start by ignoring the “big auditorium” and typing their favorite hashtag into the service’s search bar. That immediately quiets the chatter to focus on nothing but a specific topic. For instance, if you search Twitter for #politics, you’ll see only posts relating to politics. If you search Instagram for #startrek, you’ll find only posts related to the popular sci-fi series.
Hashtags Put You in the Conversation
Armed with that knowledge, savvy churches use hashtags to place their posts within a certain conversation. Rather than your posts getting lost in the “huge auditorium” of social media, you can enter into a conversation you want to join. If you post something such as “Had a wonderful #Christian outreach in #Dallas tonight—reached the #homeless!” you’ll enter into three conversations—one with people posting about Christianity, and another with people posting about your city, and yet another with people discussing the homeless.
Hashtags Help You Reach Outside Your Congregation
Of course, using hashtags allows you to reach out beyond those you know. People don’t need to follow you to see your tweets or posts—they just need to be surfing their favorite hashtag. If you post, “Look at this beautiful #sunset picture over our #church!” you’ll reach people interested in sunsets or churches—people who may not have found you otherwise.
Hashtags Allow You to Follow the Conversation
Another trick is to create your own hashtag so you can follow specific conversations regarding your church or a specific outreach. For instance, The Rock Church in San Diego, a FellowshipOne partner, recently created the unique hashtag #bigmansbreakfast to follow posts of its members writing about their event. This allowed them to capture pictures, feedback, and more.
Where to Find the Best Hashtags
When looking for a popular hashtag or confirming that a hashtag you want to use is unique, you can use a popular free service like hashtagify.me. If, for instance, you type in #faith, you can see that out of a possible score of 100, it has a popularity score of 70.9, indicating it’s pretty popular. Even better, you can see related hashtags you may not have thought about using, such as #believe. Reaching the world with your message is easier than ever. Take your social media experience to the next level by using hashtags for your church. Then, spin up your overall communication through email, texting, and more with a good Church Management Software like FellowshipOne to do it all in one place. Click here to schedule a free demo today.