Social media is known for connecting individuals. Hashtags, one of social media’s features, provide a way to connect ideas and content.
If you’re new to social media or don’t use the internet much outside of your church office, here’s a quick primer on hashtags and how they can help you increase the reach of your church’s social media posts.
Hashtags are key words or phrases that begin with the # symbol and aggregate content so those interested in that content can find it on social media. When someone clicks on a hashtag in a post, other posts labeled with that hashtag display.
After rising to fame on Twitter, you can now label and monitor hashtags on other social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
You’ve probably noticed hashtags in your professional and personal life. The hashtag #Impact15 was used during ACS Technologies’ 2015 Ideas to Impact Conference. Or, perhaps you’ve noticed them for brands in TV commercials or during TV shows, creating a “second screen” of engagement, where viewers discuss the show or product on social media.
If your congregants are social media savvy, consider using hashtags in your social media ministry to connect your congregation during and after services and church events.
First, decide on a broad hashtag to characterize your church and overall ministry. You might want to use your church’s name or an abbreviation of your church’s name, preceded by the # symbol, but do not include punctuation, symbols, or spaces. When someone clicks on your hashtag, he or she sees other posts with that hashtag – including posts made by the church and posts from members and attendees who included it in their posts.
Once you see congregants using your broad hashtag, consider creating them for your other ministries such as your children’s ministry or to connect a sermon series. You can use more than one hashtag in a post, so if you tweeted about a sermon series, you could include your church’s general one as well. This helps those who follow your church’s general hashtag, to learn about the sermon series.
Once you know how hashtags work and decide on which ones your ministry wants to use, think about some guidelines for including them in posts.
Remember that when you post with a hashtag on a public social media account, anyone who searches for it can find your post, so only include relevant ones. Focus on your social media content, then add hashtags if they add value to your post.
Do not overuse hashtags. Including 1-3 hashtags in a post is fine, but don’t tag every word or include them excessively. Too many may dilute the message or value of your post, and it can annoy your followers, who may stop following your social media.
Remember, social media is a human form of communication, so your posts should read as natural and conversational as possible.
Other Hashtags to Use (and Follow)
Using hashtags in your social media posts lets those who follow you know what your church is up to, but why stop there? Following popular ministry hashtags is a great way to keep up with what other churches and organizations are doing and how they’re using social media for ministry efforts.
At ACS Technologies, we use the hashtag #ACSTech on blog posts and company happenings on social media. Follow this to learn what’s going on at ACS Technologies, including updates, releases, and new products.
Here are some other ministry-related hashtag ideas you can add to your social media posts and/or follow:
- #verseoftheday – This is self-explanatory, but churches and social media users share favorite Bible verses with this, often on a daily basis.
- #churchcomm – Church staff, small leaders, and members often use this to share information about print and online communication for ministry.
- #citrt – This stands for Church IT Roundtable, which is used by church IT professionals to share information about software, hardware, and web-based solutions for ministry.
- #chsocm – The Church Social Media hashtag shares ways to manage and promote your ministry’s social media. If you’re on twitter, Church Social Media (@chsocm) hosts a weekly non-denominational chat to connect churches and other social media professionals.