Today, we have many social media management agencies which specialize in nonprofit marketing and all of them vouch for the effectiveness of hashtags in the success of nonprofit and philanthropic campaigns.
Drive campaign success with these hashtag tips
The nonprofit sector is one of the least marketed sectors in the world. It is also one of the slowest sectors to enter the social arena. But today is the day of social media and nonprofits need to be online and social if they wish to get donations or volunteer sign-ups.
Here are some tips and tricks that you can use, to get started on your hashtag journey:
- Use trending hashtags
Certain hashtags remain evergreen for perpetuity. Using them in your marketing campaign is a great way to become visible to audiences.
#dogood is a great way to encourage people to do something. This is one hashtag which is extremely subtle in its encouragement.
Check out how Waterboys.org uses this hashtag.
- Encourage donations with the right hashtags
Do you want to encourage your followers to make more donations this year? Well, then, do what Goodwill Southern California does and show your followers the beneficiaries of their donations.
The more often you show the beneficiaries of any donation, the more likely is it for your patrons to donate more. You’ll be forging a very personal relationship with your patrons this way and engaging their sympathies.
Take a look at how one Twitter user improved feline welfare in Philadelphia, by using #donate.
If you really want to get your audiences off their seat and moving, then using an actionable hashtag is the right way to go. The #volunteer used by animal rights group Pilots N Paws has encouraged hundreds of off-duty and retired pilots, vets and animal lovers to lend a hand.
You can also use #volunteer through subtle marketing. Instead of actively asking them to volunteer at your organization why not just talk about volunteering in general? This is exactly what this soup kitchen did and you won’t believe the number of volunteer sign-ups they had after this post was published.
- Inform followers about new products or campaigns through industry hashtags
Now, you may not strictly be a non-profit organization or an association. But, you may specialize in products or services that will add great value to your audiences. Using hashtags related to your industry, such as #nonprofit, is a great way to find the relevant customers.
Take a look at how this can be done.
However, if you are a nonprofit organization, then you can design traditional posts asking your audience to help out. This is how Eia Hawaii Fund promotes its campaign.
Influencers are an asset to any marketing campaign and this is why you need to utilize their services when marketing your nonprofit campaign or event.
Instead of having your influencers talk about you directly, you could have them write articles or produce videos about activism and philanthropy and have the article back-linked to your blog or website. Using a common hashtag, such as #activism or #philanthropy, across channels is a great way to share your content and gain visibility.
This is a highly organic way of promoting your cause, without seeming too commercial. Here is an example of a great post by Dr. Daniel Wahl.
If you’ve logged on to Twitter recently, you’ll have seen posts about the ‘We Are The World’ #charity concert from 1985. This was a concert which saw huge names like Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Lionel Richie singing for the cause of humanity. The concert raised huge funding for multiple humanitarian projects.
If you’ve organized a similar, charitable event, have the celebrities, who attended it, promote it for you. Celebrities are the greatest endorsers you could have.
- Increase the ‘Aww’ factor
When people see something that makes them happy (or something they like), they are more likely to do what you want them to.
Take the post by the orangutan Project. By posting a picture of a cuddly baby orangutan, the organization has brought the mysterious animal out of the shadows and made it more real and concrete. Their use of the #savingorangutans brings into focus what’s at cost and what the organization seeks to achieve.
When people are aware about what they may lose if they aren’t careful, they’ll do anything to save it.
If your organization or association is geographically-specific, then using a location hashtag is a good way to target your posts to the people who’ll most benefit from them.
Agri Food Aid is an organization that talks to both farmers and financers by using #africa to localize their audience.
- Use good news to highlight important human rights issues
Your patrons are more likely to contribute or volunteer if they are certain that positive changes are taking place. What better way to show them this, than to post evidence of your accomplishments?
You can also champion achievements of people who are dedicated to a cause similar to your own. Take a look at this #heforshe campaign.
A testimony from a third-party is better advertising than tooting your own horn. If you regularly work with other companies or influencers for #socialgood, then have these companies talk about your project to #giveback.
When someone else vouches for your campaign, there is greater believability.
Rules when using hashtags
- Always use hashtags that are currently trending, to get the greatest effect
- Create your own hashtag if you want to
- Use the same hashtag across all social media platforms, to increase hashtag visibility
- Use a mix of broad hashtags (ex: #charity, #volunteer) and specific hashtag (Ex; #USAforAfrica)
If you’d like to see what a really good self-created hashtag looks like, take a look at Humane Society’s #MuttMonday. Today, hundreds of animal shelters and animal rights groups use this hashtag to get in touch people who are interested in adopting a neglected canine.
- Don’t add punctuation marks in the middle of your hashtags
- Don’t make spelling errors, as your audience may not be able to find you if you do
- Don’t add numbers at the beginning, middle or end of the hashtag
- Don’t use space between words for hashtags that contain multiple words
- Don’t use hashtags that are culturally or politically sensitive
Take the example of the highly distasteful tweet from Kenneth Cole. The fashion brand used the serious civil unrest in #Cairo, to sell their new line of products. Let’s just say this was a new low blow from them.
Wrapping it up
Using hashtags is challenging, yet fun. When you use the right hashtag, you have a higher chance of encouraging your patrons and audiences to engage in the desired action.
Try the above tips, tricks and techniques and see for yourself the phenomenal power of the hashtag!
Nisha Prakash is a blogger specializing in social media marketing and content management. She is an avid runner and a bibliophile.